If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?

Israeli occupation state has committed so many crimes against the Palestinian people, but it does not want any internal or external body to look into and expose these crimes.

Prof Kamel Hawwash

On 5 February, Palestinians saw a long tunnel open and a light flicker in the distance for justice.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I “decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”


The ICC now has jurisdiction to investigate crimes the Palestinians say were perpetrated by Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had previously called for investigations, saying there was “a reasonable basis to believe” war crimes had happened.

Reactions in both Palestine and Israel were as predicted.

Palestinian kids

The Palestinians welcomed the decision. Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Shalaldeh welcomed the ICC decision and considered it “historic”.

“The International Criminal Court decision is historic and means immediate commencement in investigating the grave violations on the Palestinian occupied territory,” Al-Shalaldeh said.

He added that three files are prioritised for the court, the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, the Israeli settlements, and the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the decision in a written statement.

“Today, the International Criminal Court has proven once more that it is a political body and not a judicial institution,” Netanyahu said.

“In this ruling, the tribunal violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace,” he added.

Anyone expecting a change of American position from the new Biden Administration was quickly disappointed.

In a call with Netanyahu, American Vice President Kamala Harris told him that the US opposes ICC investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the White House said.

This followed an announcement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which he said that Washington “firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed” by the ICC decision.

He emphasised that “Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” Blinken said in a statement.

Israel would have been a little confused but certainly disappointed that the same administration recently lifted the sanctions on ICC personnel imposed by Biden’s predecessor, Trump in December 2020.

Blinken’s team said: “These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective.”

The administration continues “to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations” and to object to ICC “efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel.”

The US made this decision despite the investigations that may target US military personnel for crimes committed in Afghanistan.

One might have expected Israel to follow suit and accept that the ICC is an independent court and that the chief prosecutor has painstakingly consulted before it was ruled that the court had jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that it would investigate crimes committed by any party, including Palestinian parties going back to 2014.

However, those familiar with Israel’s attitude to necessary external scrutiny won’t have been surprised with its formal rejection of the ICC decision to investigate its leaders’ crimes.

Israel is clearly worried about the ICC decision.

Following a meeting of its top brass it decided to send a letter to the court to convey its refusal to cooperate.

At the meeting were the prime minister, foreign minister, defence minister, strategic affairs minister, education minister, water minister, attorney-general, National Security Council head, and army Chief Military Advocate, among others.

Israel will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation for alleged war crimes and will argue that the court has no jurisdiction to open the probe, consistent with Israel’s longstanding position.

At the meeting, Netanyahu argued that “While IDF soldiers fight with supreme morality against terrorists that commit war crimes daily, the court in The Hague decided to denounce Israel”.

“There is no other word for this than hypocrisy. A body established to fight for human rights turned into a hostile body that defends those who trample human rights.”

In the letter to be sent to the ICC, Israel will argue that it has its own ‘independent judiciary’ capable of trying soldiers who commit war crimes.

Palestinians would beg to differ as investigations by Israel of its own crimes have yielded no justice.

Take the example of the investigation of the 2018 killing of 21-year-old Palestinian paramedic Razan Al-Najjar near the fence in Gaza.

An Israeli investigation stated that “during an initial examination of the incident that took place on June 1st, 2018, in which a 22-year-old Palestinian woman was killed, it was found that a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed towards her”.

Commenting on the investigation Al-Haq Human Rights organisation stated: “The hastily concluded preliminary examination highlights Israel’s inability to conduct an independent, effective and impartial investigation into alleged war crimes.”

It further stated: “The Israeli military effectively operates with impunity. Between 2005 and 2009, out of 800 submitted complaints of war crimes, only 49 investigations led to indictments.”

Israel therefore cannot be trusted to conduct its own investigations impartially and that is the reason why external investigation is needed.

Furthermore, it has a history of denying impartial international investigating teams’ access to investigate potential war crimes going back decades.

In 2002, the Amnesty International team to investigate potential crimes committed by Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp were denied access to the camp.

Professor Derrick Pounder, who was part of the three-person team sent to investigate human rights abuses, said: “The refusal to allow us to conduct or even to assist in enabling others to conduct such investigations is very serious and gives rise to questions about the authorities’ motives.”

In 2009 the team led by Judge Goldstone to investigate possible crimes committed during the 2008/9 war on Gaza was denied visas by Israel and had to enter Gaza through Egypt.

His report eventually found Israel and Palestinian armed groups were guilty of war crimes.

The report also referenced that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem had been denied entry to carry out their investigations in Gaza.

In 2014, Israel again denied entry to teams that were tasked with investigating potential human rights abuses.

The UNHRC investigating team found that both Israel and Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes. [resistance and even armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is not just recognised under international law but specifically endorsed.]

Israel has also denied entry to UN Rapporteurs Richard Falk and Michael Link, UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

Whether it is about its war crimes during repeated wars against the helpless, entrapped Palestinian population in Gaza or its illegal settlement enterprise, or moving its population into illegally occupied areas, moving Palestinian prisoners into its own territory from occupied territory.

What about house demolitions, family evictions?

With that torrid track record, justice requires that Israeli violations are examined, and it faces accountability for them.

Its leaders should answer for their alleged war crimes in person and must have their day in court at The Hague.

Otherwise, its leaders will continue to commit crimes, safe in the knowledge that they will not have to answer for them.

The wheels of justice need to move more quickly, and then Israeli war criminals won’t be able to sleep soundly every night thinking they can just get up in the morning and commit more crimes with impunity.

Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes.

In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies.

They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians.

They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years.

These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud.

This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition.

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments.

The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen.

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena.

This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials.

He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words.

One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality.

And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people.

A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again.

Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights.

When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel.

History repeats itself

Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel.

The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence.

Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location.

Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities.

The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes.

Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime.

Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior.

Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez.

Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City.

When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot.

Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

US judge dismisses lawsuit linking Palestine solidarity group to ‘terrorism’

Crowd clapping applauding - gif | Gif, Cumprimentos, Sábias palavras

‘The smearing of human rights advocates as terrorists is a troublingly common and dangerous tactic’

– Diala Shamas, lawyer

By Ali Harb
30 March 2021

A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit that aimed to link a Washington-based Palestinian rights advocacy group to “international terrorism”, in a decision that activists hailed as a victory for free speech.

In a ruling released on Monday, federal judge Richard Leon rejected a claim that the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) is liable for militant attacks against Israelis because of its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and Gaza’s Great March of Return.

The lawsuit was led by the Israeli government-aligned Jewish National Fund and group of US citizens living in Israel.

They argued that the USPCR aided and abetted acts of “international terrorism” by supporting the Great March of Return and the BDS National Committee (BNC).

The plaintiffs sought a jury trial demanding compensation under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), a US law that allows victims of terrorism to sue accomplices in militant attacks for damages.
‘Not convincing’

Image result for John kerry animated gif

Sen John Kerry: “The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to non-violence. And in fact when the intifada (in 2015) took place they delivered non-violence – in the West Bank.”
However, Kerry said this was “overlooked by the general population because it’s not a topic of discussion. Why? Because the majority of the cabinet, in the current Israeli government, has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state.”

Leon tossed the lawsuit, rebuffing the attempt to equate support for BDS with material support for Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Washington.

He also said the plaintiffs failed to establish a direct link between the US-based group’s activities and actual attacks against Americans.

“While the plaintiffs make broad allegations that the US Campaign provided financial assistance to Hamas, they fail to plead factual allegations sufficient to support these claims.

The more specific factual allegations involving the BNC and other groups are simply too removed from a terrorist act or organization to state a claim under the ATA,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

Israel Now Arming Seven Terrorist Groups in Syria - Report | The Liberty Beacon

Israeli Weapons Used in Genocide Against Rohingya Muslims

“Plaintiffs’ argument to the contrary are, to say the least, not convincing.”

USPCR executive director Ahmad Abuznaid lauded the ruling.

He said the lawsuit reflected Israeli efforts to collectively punish Palestinians for their activism, even those living abroad.

“This reinforces that not only is justice on our side, but also affirms our constitutional rights and ability to continue to fight for the freedom of the Palestinian people,” Abuznaid told MEE.

The Great March of Return started in 2018 as a peaceful protest campaign along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel.

It demanded an end to the blockade on the Palestinian territory and emphasized the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes in what is today Israel. Gaza is home to 1.9 million Palestinians who are mostly refugees.

Israeli forces killed more than 180 Palestinians, including medics and journalists, during the Great March, which lasted for months.

Protesters responded by lighting up balloons, kites and condoms and flying them into Israeli territories.

 

The JNF lawsuit described the Palestinian balloons as “arson terrorism” that caused emotional suffering and material damage for the US citizens suing the USPCR.

Judge Leon said that while he empathises with the plaintiffs’ “suffering”, he cannot conclude “that the law provides the relief” that they seek.

Diala Shamas, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which helped represent the defendants, said she hopes the ruling would be a “turning point” against efforts by private actors to weaponise terrorism laws to silence critics.

“The smearing of human rights advocates as terrorists is a troublingly common and dangerous tactic. The JNF’s complaint perversely cites our clients’ human rights advocacy in an attempt to support their ultimately fruitless effort to hijack US courts,” Shamas said in a statement.


Anti-BDS efforts

Abuznaid said the lawsuit is part of a broader effort to silence Palestinian rights activism, including laws penalizing individuals and companies that boycott Israel.

“But we have constitutional rights in this country, rights that Israelis are obviously denying us in our ancestral homeland, but that they cannot deny us here in the US,” he told MEE.

‘The smearing of human rights advocates as terrorists is a troublingly common and dangerous tactic’

– Diala Shamas, lawyer

Dozens of US states have anti-BDS laws on the books. Federal courts have struck down such legislation in Kansas, Arizona and Texas for violating free speech rights.

Earlier this year, a court of appeals also ruled that an anti-BDS law in Arkansas is in violation of the First Amendment.

The ruling in favour of the USPCR comes weeks after a judge in California dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Israeli soldier against a Palestinian rights activist.

Abuznaid said he hopes these legal victories would convince US politicians to stop the crackdown on Palestinian rights activism in the United States.

“They cannot silence us. They cannot stop us. I want to keep fighting for a day where freedom and liberation truly includes the Palestinian people,” he said.

Israel warns there will be consequences for Palestinian actions at ICC

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MARCH 22, 2021

“The Palestinian leadership has to understand there are consequences for their actions,” the Israeli official said.

Ties between Jerusalem and Ramallah will not be “business as usual,” in light of the Palestinian Authority’s successful appeal to have the International Criminal Court  investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, a senior Israeli official said on Monday.

“The Palestinian leadership has to understand there are consequences for their actions,” the Israeli official said.

Asked if Israel rejected recent proposals by other countries to launch joint economic projects with the Palestinians unless the PA says it will not cooperate with the ICC, as first reported by KAN, the official said: “For them to suppose that they can go to the ICC and it will be business as usual from Israel is a very questionable proposition.”

The remarks came a day after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confiscated PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki’s VIP border crossing pass, upon his return from a meeting at the ICC in The Hague.

Malki retains his rights as a resident of the PA, but will no longer have any special privileges that had been granted to him as a top official.

“No one has limited his freedom of movement,” the official said, “but he is using the extra privileges he received from Israel to seek to prevent the freedom of movement from Israelis as we travel abroad.
Did he really expect us just to sit on our hands?”

Sources in the Foreign and Defense ministries said the move to confiscate Malki’s VIP status was not coordinated with them.

The Shin Bet, which is under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, declined to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, the National Security Council has reportedly made recommendations opposite to sanctioning Palestinian officials and blocking projects to further cooperation with the PA.

The ICC and Israel’s Charge of Anti-Semitism

We are at a critical historical juncture in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to criticize Israel without being branded an anti-Semite.

You are an anti-Semite if you support the International Criminal Court’s recent ruling that it has jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation against Israel.

But you are also likely to be called an anti-Semite if you reject the logic informing the court’s decision.

Target List

The ICC is on Israel’s target list. This becomes clear when searching for the terms “ICC ruling” and “Israel” together; instantaneously, an ad pops up at the very top of Google’s list of 1,390,000 results: “ICC & Israel: No Standing. No Jurisdiction. No Case.”

Clicking the ad, will take you to a slick blue and white website (i.e., the color of Israel’s flag) called “ICC Jurisdiction” with the large “No Standing….” slogan at the center of the page.

Under the slogan one reads that “The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established as a court of last resort to try the perpetrators of some of the world’s worst crimes.

It has been widely recognized that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel. Any other conclusion is the outcome of a politicized process which upholds a wrong interpretation of international law.”

Israel’s official view, then, is that the ICC has no standing to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories that Israel had occupied in 1967. Israel, so the claim goes, is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC; moreover, the Palestinian Authority is not sovereign and therefore cannot delegate jurisdiction and request that the ICC intervene on its behalf as required by the Statute.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily rejected the ICC’s recent ruling that paves the way for a war crimes probe, averring that “The decision of the international court to open an investigation against Israel today for war crimes is absurd. It’s undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.”

Several Israeli allies, including the US, Germany, and Hungary, appear to agree with Israel’s analysis. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not invoke the anti-Semitism charge, he did parrot Israel’s Prime Minister when he declared that “the Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”

Avoiding Hypocrisy

Yet, if one insists that the Palestinians have no standing before the ICC since they lack sovereignty, then the only way to avoid Netanyahu’s accusation of hypocrisy would be to infer that the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as well as the people living in it are controlled by Israel.

This, however, would mean agreeing with Israel’s foremost human rights organization B’tselem, which has claimed that the Palestinian territories are ruled by one regime – namely, Israel.

B’tselem goes on to explain that this regime is “organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.”

The human rights organization concludes that “a regime that uses laws, practices and organized violence to cement the supremacy of one group over another is an apartheid regime.”

But the claim that one regime controls the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is also considered anti-Semitic.

After the publication of B’tselem’s report, professor Eugene Kontorovich, head of the Kohelet Policy Forum’s International Law Department, said that the rights organization’s charge of apartheid was akin to an anti-Semitic “blood libel.”

In a similar vein, NGO Monitor claimed that B’Tselem’s report is informed by anti-Semitic tropes, while specifically flagging the phrase from the “River to the Sea” as extremely disturbing.

Of course Palestinians who have dared to talk about “Israeli apartheid” or students who have organized an “Israel Apartheid Week” on campuses have frequently been subjected to similar accusations.

Parallel Universe

There is, of course, one way to speak about Israel without being cast as an anti-Semite.

But to do so one would have to have a very creative imagination or live in some kind of parallel universe, where Israel does not have a colonial project, where Palestinian rights are not continuously violated, and where, in fact, Palestinians do not even exist.

Neve Gordon teaches human rights and international humanitarian law at Queen Mary University of London and is the co-author of Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire. You can follow him @nevegordon.

Harris assures Netanyahu of US opposition to ICC probe

They (up the ladder) throw in the same goons over and over.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, reaffirmed Washington’s opposition to an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe of possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Reuters reported the White House saying.

The call, the first between the two since Harris and President Joe Biden took office in January, came a day after the ICC prosecutor said she would launch the probe, prompting swift rejections by the US and Israel.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan on 16 June, said in December 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She named both the Israeli army and armed Palestinian groups as possible perpetrators.

Harris and Netanyahu noted their governments’ “opposition to the International Criminal Court’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” the White House said.

Everyone works for Israhell

READ: Could Israel invade the Hague?

The two agreed to continue to cooperate on regional security issues, specifically Iran’s nuclear program and “dangerous” behaviour, the White House statement said.

Harris “emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” the statement added.

Biden’s bid to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers sets him and Netanyahu on a potential collision course.

The Israeli prime minister opposed the nuclear deal and applauded former President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon it in 2018.

Harris also congratulated Netanyahu on Israel’s coronavirus vaccine programme and they agreed to increase cooperation on the coronavirus, water, green energy and other initiatives, the White House said.

US denounces ICC probe in Palestinian territories. Why?

Sure US denounces ICC probe…US is just as guilty!

“ICC member countries should stand ready to fiercely protect the court’s work from any political pressure.”

The United States on Wednesday criticized the International Criminal Court for opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories and voiced support for Israel.

“We firmly oppose and are disappointed by the ICC prosecutor’s announcement of an investigation into the Palestinian situation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly,” he said, noting that Israel does not accept the court’s jurisdiction.

Despite strong opposition from Israel and the United States, the outgoing ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was going ahead with a probe into the situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip as well as the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

No one is safe anywhere in Palestine, that means anyone including human rights groups, activists and tourists. ANY non Jew.

Zionist Occupation forces have a ‘shoot anything that moves policy in Palestine’ in and outside of epic attacks every few years, meaning streets, playgrounds, beeches etc

The website Walla! published talkback comments on an article about the four children killed on the Gaza beach.

Shani Moyal: “I couldn’t care less that Arab children were killed, too bad it wasn’t more. Well done to the IDF.”

Stav Sabah: “Really, these are great pictures. They make me so happy, I want to look at them again and again.”

Sharon Avishi: “Only four? Too bad. We hoped for more.”

Daniela Turgeman: “Great. We need to kill all the children.”

Chaya Hatnovich: “There isn’t a more beautiful picture than those of dead Arab children.”

Orna Peretz: “Why only four?”

Rachel Cohen: “I’m not for children dying in Gaza. I’m for everyone burning.”

Tami Mashan: “As many children as possible should die.”

Under previous president Donald Trump, the United States imposed sanctions on Bensouda after she separately decided to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden has indicated a more cooperative approach with the court, seeing its value, but has yet to end the sanctions.

“We are committed to promoting accountability, respect for human rights and justice for victims of atrocities,” Price said.

“As much as we disagree with the ICC’s actions relating to the Palestinian situation and of course to Afghanistan,” Price said, “we are thoroughly reviewing sanctions.”

The US is just as guilty for aiding and abetting war criminals.

No amount of political propaganda from a weakened secretary of state, or tweeting by an outgoing, lame duck American president, will prevent the ICC from pursuing its duty to investigate the most heinous of crimes against humanity.

So what did Israel do in Gaza in 2014? During a seven-week military invasion, Israel’s military rampaged through the poverty-stricken civilian population, responding to provocations from Hamas.

More than 2,300 Palestinians were killed and nearly 11,000 were injured. The vast majority of the dead and injured were civilians.

Israel defended its actions by arguing that Hamas militants had used the civilians as “human shields.”

Israel justified its invasion by asserting that Hamas extremists were responsible for the murder of three Israeli teenagers, despite a lack of evidence.

Israel blamed all violence on Hamas and the Palestinians generally, rarely acknowledging its own violence or crimes.

With the backing of a biased mainstream news media, and millions of dollars set aside for public relations propaganda, Israel enforced its argument despite the reality of videos, photographs and eyewitness testimony that claimed Israeli soldiers intentionally killed civilians.

But the ICC isn’t swayed by Israel or by the rhetoric of politicians.

Its prosecutor’s report stated: “The Office found there was a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Israel Defense Forces committed the war crimes of: Intentionally launching disproportionate attacks in relation to at least three incidents which the Office has focused on; willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health; and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”

The report added: “In addition, Office found there was a reasonable basis to believe that members of Hamas and Palestinian armed groups committed the war crimes of: Intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects; using protected persons as shields; willfully depriving protected persons of the rights of fair and regular trial; and willful killing and torture or inhuman treatment and/or outrages upon personal dignity.”

Each accusation is backed up by an article of the Rome Statute, which is the legal basis of the ICC’s existence and mandate.

Israel can bury its head in the sand, but it won’t be able to avoid prosecution, regardless of who sits in the White House.

No children’s playground in Palestine is safe

Could Israel invade the Hague?

No one asks to put the Jewish people on trial. This is another way to merge Zionism with Judaism which is a trick. Zionists are not Jews. Zionists claiming to be Jews are the criminals.

Kahanist lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich (who is likely to be part of Israel’s ruling coalition government after next month’s election) called for Netanyahu to expel and destroy an entire Palestinian village in revenge for the ICC’s ruling.

Feb 25, 2021

It has been a long time coming.

Earlier this month, a panel of judges ruled that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could investigate Israel for war crimes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A coalition of Palestinian human rights lawyers celebrated the “landmark” ruling as “a critically important step towards ensuring the rule of law” and “towards ending impunity”.

As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied, and in the case of Israeli war crimes, accountability has been delayed for years – for decades.

More than a year ago, the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda concluded her preliminary examination of the situation.

She decided that the criteria for war crimes investigations had been met.

But that initial examination in itself had taken no less than five years, with the entire weight of Israel’s network of overseas lobby groups bearing down on Bensouda.

Outrageously, she was also sanctioned by the Trump administration.

The ICC ruling this month means that the court in the Hague can now go ahead and investigate Israel for war crimes during events such as Israel’s 2014 war of aggression against the people of the Gaza Strip, and the 2018 protests along the boundary line with Gaza during which Israeli snipers gunned down thousands of unarmed protesters, killing hundreds of them and injuring many, many more.

It is far from clear how long it will take for the ICC to initiate the investigation process.

The panel’s ruling on territorial jurisdiction referred to the possibility of “a protracted process” – not exactly an encouraging sign.

Predictably, Israel was not pleased that the ICC has dared to indicate that it will investigate them, even though the panel also ruled it had jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes by armed Palestinian resistance groups such as Hamas.

Israeli politicians and officials went wild, lashing out with all sorts of outlandish accusations and threats of revenge.

But privately, Israel is clearly worried.

A report in Haaretz revealed that Israel has drawn up a secretive list of top military and political figures likely to be targetted by an ICC prosecution and has even warned them to refrain from travel for fear of arrest.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s racist prime minister, ranted in a bizarre video posted online that the ICC was investigating “fake war crimes” and that the court’s actions were “pure anti-Semitism”. He threatened that Israel would “fight” the investigation “with all our might”.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the US and UN, also posted a twisted statement baselessly accusing the ICC investigation of being “anti-Semitic”.

Erdan was, until recently, the Israeli minister responsible for orchestrating Israel’s global war against the Palestine solidarity movement.

He was responsible for an international campaign of dirty tricks and harassment against Palestinians and their supporters – a campaign very much still at work.

Lawyers of the four Palestinian human rights groups who so warmly welcomed the ICC panel’s ruling this month – Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, Addameer and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – stated that in revenge for their engagement with the court, Israel was subjecting them to collective punishment.

This has been: “A protracted campaign of smears and death threats – all designed to foil, undermine, and deter Palestinian engagement with the court,” they wrote – a covert sabotage campaign reportedly carried out by Erdan’s former “Strategic Affairs” ministry.

Erdan himself is another open racist at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

He has openly incited hatred against Israel’s Palestinian citizens, and calls for the theft of all remaining Palestinian land in the West Bank by formally annexing the occupied territory, based on “our Biblical right to the land,” he said in 2018.

Israeli politics are made up of the right, the far-right and the ultra-right.

On the ultra-right, Israel’s Jewish supremacist Kahanist politicians are even more openly genocidal in their incitement against Palestinians.

Kahanist lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich (who is likely to be part of Israel’s ruling coalition government after next month’s election) called for Netanyahu to expel and destroy an entire Palestinian village in revenge for the ICC’s ruling.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu must order the evacuation of Khan Al-Ahmar tomorrow morning,” he posted on Twitter.

“What matters is not what the gentiles will say but what the Jews will do,” he wrote, quoting a phrase attributed to Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

But the award for the most truly demented reaction goes to fake Israeli “law centre” Shurat HaDin, which in reality was founded by Kahanists and is a front group for Mossad and other Israeli spooks.

Some years ago, the group’s director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote a particularly unhinged op-ed, in which she called for Israel to literally invade the Hague, should it ever investigate Israel for war crimes.

Is this the kind of “fight” Netanyahu has in mind?

“Israel’s” fear of prosecution strengthens Palestine narratives

“Israel” can not refuse or reject the ICC investigation and no one can help.🥵

(Middle East Monitor ) – Israeli media has reported that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could issue secret arrest warrants for Israeli officials involved in war crimes against the Palestinian people.

According to a senior Israeli official who spoke to Israel Hayom, “The very fact that an ICC investigation will be launched will make Israel synonymous with the darkest regimes in Africa, where truly horrific war crimes have been committed. It’s unthinkable.”

It is unthinkable to speak of comparisons when Israel was established upon horrific war crimes against the Palestinian people which continue to be perpetrated to the present day.

The possible ICC investigation and arrest warrants will merely cast a spotlight upon the plethora of violations which the UN has normalised through its well-practiced defence of Israel’s security narrative.

Israel is now reportedly concerned about its international image and the economic impact an investigation could have.

To this effect, Israel is most probably indirectly referring to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as ministers expressed concern about “Palestinians and their supporters [using] any such investigation to relentlessly pressure international conglomerates to stop doing business with Israel.”

The Israeli government has also been told that settlements constitute the strongest case at the ICC, increasing the possibility of targeting officials across the political spectrum given the unanimous support for colonial expansion.

In this regard, Israel has availed itself of two factors in recent years: international inaction and US support for expansion, recently declared “not inconsistent with international law” by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

So far, the international community has managed to excuse Israel’s war crimes record by limiting itself to periodical condemnations.

Israel’s response to the ICC mirrors the international community’s response to the documented violations; both cast aside the implications of a state and its officials committing war crimes to shift focus on the Israeli narrative and, in turn, normalise the violations Palestinians face daily into a routine dissociated from colonial violence.

An ICC investigation, if it happens, has the potential to alter the status quo which has served Israel for decades and turned Palestinians into a humanitarian catastrophe.

The international community’s convenient narrative can be stripped away by the ICC directly targeting the officials responsible for war crimes against the Palestinian people.

As a result, the mainstream version of events about Palestinians dying, or losing their homes, will no longer be considered acceptable.

Palestinians have been murdered by Israeli officials working for the colonial state.

Likewise, responsibility for ongoing settlement expansion can be traced back to the government officials who remain committed to the original plan of ethnically cleansing Palestine from its indigenous population.

The ICC’s delays remain an impediment to investigations and arrests. Yet the focus on the ICC’s clear admission that war crimes have been committed must not fade from sight.

It is imperative not to waste additional years from the Palestinian narrative by falling upon the clichéd use of “alleged war crimes” as a measure to protect Israel.

Since war crimes have been committed, the Palestinian narrative must be supported by this admission and it must be made incumbent upon the international community to follow suit in its discourse.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Via Middle East Monitor

UK MPs urge Israel to stop disposition of Palestinian families

‘As you are well aware, the forcible transfer of an occupied population is a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,’ letter of UK MPs reads.

A cross-party coalition of over 80 British MPs has urged the UK’s foreign secretary to impose consequences on Israel if hundreds of planned evictions of Palestinian families go ahead.

About 200 families in East Jerusalem are in immediate danger of being dispossessed of their homes following a legal battle waged against them by settler associations.

“This would amount to the forcible/mass eviction and dispossession of hundreds of Palestinian families,” read the letter sent to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

“As you are well aware, the forcible transfer of an occupied population is a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.

“Israeli settlers as well as government and municipality officials speak openly about wishing to control the demographics of the city.

Any actions by the occupying power to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition are illegal under international law.”

The MPs urged the British government to “put a stop to the forcible transfer of families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.”

They also suggested potential consequences that the government should impose if the evictions go ahead, including “reducing diplomatic engagement and banning trade in settlement products in full conformity with international law.” The letter added: “Settlements are illegal so such a step is not a sanction.”

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, told Arab News that he welcomed the letter.

It “highlights a significant degree of parliamentary concern over Israeli practices in the occupied territories,” he said.

“It’s clearly an outrage that Israel continues to engage in forcible dispossession whilst at the same time building and expanding on illegal settlements and the dispossession of Palestinian land. It’s all part of a larger process that goes unaddressed.”

On Friday, the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories.

This ruling, Doyle said, “highlights the grave consequences that could, down the line, hit those senior Israeli officials and ministers who authorize such crimes.”

He added: “Israel has for a long time been able to act with the knowledge that it had the full backing of the US, and that therefore there wouldn’t be any accountability — but who knows, further down the line this may change.”

While the ICC ruling may influence future Israeli policy, Doyle said Raab could do a lot more right now to uphold international law.

“The Palestinians are tired of just hearing the same old copy-paste press releases. There really should be some stronger action, which could include a ban on trade with illegal settlements,” he added.

“This would ram home to Israeli leaders that there are consequences for illegal actions — that’s the whole fundamental basis for international law.”

Israel to Ask Allies to Pass ‘Discreet Message’ to ICC Not to Open Alleged War Crimes Probe

According to Israel the UN is antisemitic, UNESCO is antisemitic and surely the ICC is antisemitic as well.
The Israeli government previously slammed the ICC decision as “anti-Semitic”. So far, only two countries – the United States and Australia – have officially objected to the ICC ruling.

Tel Aviv intends to lure “dozens of” its allies to convey a “discreet message” to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensoud, pressuring her not to proceed with the probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the occupied territories, an Axios report said Sunday.

The ICC ruled on Friday that it had jurisdiction to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

The report cited two Israeli officials who said that the country’s foreign ministry sent a classified table (designated as “Urgent”) to its ambassadors around the globe on Sunday. According to the lobbying instructions in the cable, the Israeli diplomats should reach out to foreign ministers and heads of government and ask them to issue official statements objecting to the ICC ruling.

“When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes – this is pure antisemitism. The court established to prevent atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people is now targeting the one state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said

“We ask that (governments) send a discreet message to the prosecutor asking her not to move forward with the investigation against Israeli and not give this case a high priority”, the cable reportedly read.

“You are instructed to tell the highest levels of government that if an investigation against Israel starts it will create a continuous crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will not allow any diplomatic progress to take place between the parties”, it reportedly added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the ICC move on Saturday, calling it “pure anti-Semitism” and called instead to “investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria.”

cast lead gaza white phosphorus

Israeli white phosphorus round explodes over a school in Gaza during operation Cast Lead (2009)
Barbed wire has been added to the Gaza fence in anticipation of the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return, March 22, 2019.

Earlier on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces called the ICC’s decision biased and said it would continue to protect the security of the country and its citizens, respecting national and international law.

The US Department of State has expressed concerns over the ICC decision to exercise its jurisdiction over Israel.

In a statement on Friday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “Israel is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. We will continue to uphold President Biden’s strong commitment to Israel and its security, including opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”

The ICC announcement said that the court’s “territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine [….] extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”. Bensoud also added that there is “a reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes “have been or are being committed in the West Bank” by Israel and the militant group Hamas, requesting an investigation.

The move was welcomed by the Palestinian authorities, with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh calling it as “a victory for justice and humanity, for the values of truth, fairness and freedom, and for the blood of the victims and their families”.

​Hamas also welcomed the ICC ruling, stressing that “any decision that contributes to supporting the rights of the Palestinian people and defends their freedom is an appropriate decision, consistent with human values, human rights charters, protection of civilians under occupation and the prosecution of war criminals”.

In December 2019, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that there was sufficient evidence to open a full investigation into possible war crimes committed in Palestine.

The announcement was made after the conclusions of a nearly five year preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine, which primarily focused on the 2014 Gaza War and Israel’s possible “intentionally launching disproportionate attacks” but also looked into the incidents at the Gaza border with Israel in March 2018 which resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including 40 children.

Comment: Another step in the long road to finally holding Israel to account, if only symbolically.

Trump did his bit. What will Biden’s handlers do?

Trump sanctions ICC officials over their investigation into alleged US war crimes

ICC Approves Investigation into Zionist War Crimes in Occupied Palestine

Justice

The last hurdle in the way of an international investigation into war crimes committed in occupied Palestine has been removed, as the International Criminal Court in the Hague has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

In December 2019, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had concluded that the Court’s initial findings are a sufficient basis for an investigation into war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian groups in the occupied territories and that the Court does have jurisdiction to look into the matter.

The decision, then, has angered Israel and its Western allies, who insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction since Palestine, they alleged, is not an independent state.

Consequently, Bensouda referred the matter to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber, requesting a “ruling on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in the State of Palestine”.

“Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court .. decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the ICC said in a press release that was made available to international media, including The Palestine Chronicle.

“The Chamber found that, regardless of its status under general international law, Palestine’s accession to the Statute followed the correct and ordinary procedure and that the Chamber has no authority to challenge and review the outcome of the accession procedure conducted by the Assembly of States Parties.

Palestine has thus agreed to subject itself to the terms of the ICC Rome Statute and has the right to be treated as any other State Party for the matters related to the implementation of the Statute.”

The State of Palestine became a signatory of the Rome Statute in January 2015.

In essence, the latest decision opens the door to a full investigation into war crimes in Palestine without further internal legal discussions within the ICC itself, as the Court’s Prosecutor and Pre-Trial Chamber are now in agreement.

In recent months, The Palestine Chronicle has conducted a series of interviews with international experts regarding this matter, including one with Professor Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, and Dr. Triestino Mariniello, member of the legal team for Gaza victims at the ICC.

Both specialists agreed that the ICC does, in fact, have jurisdiction, and that, despite the intense political pressure and US sanctions on the ICC, the war crimes investigation is likely to move forward.

(The Palestine Chronicle)