Israel will investigated for war crimes
On December 20, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was’satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation into the situation in Palestine. There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.’ Of course, this should be a no-brainer – and it required the ICC nearly five years (a’preliminary examination’ of this situation was opened in January 2015) to determine that’there are no significant reasons to believe that an investigation wouldn’t serve the interests of justice’.
Then again, Palestinians have been waiting over seventy years for justice, so five is perhaps a drop in the bucket. Not that’justice’ is a guaranteed outcome in global legal endeavours which often amount to torturously bureaucratic charades. Nor, it bears underscoring, has the Palestine investigation been officially given the green light – Bensouda is seeking confirmation that the court’s jurisdiction applies to the land in question.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounded the good old antisemitism alarm, while branding the ICC’s move a’baseless and outrageous decision’ and a’dark day for truth and justice.’ Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz, former leader of the Israeli army, asserted that’the Israeli army is among the most moral militaries in the world’ and that’the Israeli army and State of Israel do not commit war crimes’. Case closed.
The ICC examination of the’position in Palestine’ looks back only as far as June 13, 2014 and contains various allegations of war crimes during Israel’s summertime 2014 Operation Protective Edge from the Gaza Strip. That particular foray murdered some 2,251 Palestinians in a matter of days, the majority of them civilians; 551 were kids. Six civilians perished. Additionally slated for maybe-investigation is that the Israeli military’s brutal repression of Palestinian protesters engaging in the Great March of Return, which began in 2018 and’reportedly resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including more than 40 kids, and the wounding of tens of thousands of others.’
In the ICC’s view, there is also a’reasonable basis to believe that in the context of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, members of the Israeli government have committed war crimes. In relation, inter alia, to the transfer of Israeli civilians into the West Bank.’
However,’only if the Palestinians are ready to take the far-reaching political steps required to establish a productive and working society, will there be any opportunity for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians’. And so on and so forth – the only definitive takeaway being that Ehud Olmert should not be allowed to write opinion pieces if he does not know what his view is. Another Jerusalem Post opinion piece printed the same day -‘Refusing to play the Palestinians’ ICC game’ – is somewhat more secure in its convictions.
And it’s only happening because’Bensouda was tired of chasing African dictators and brutal tribal leaders, and wanted to demonstrate that the ICC was a courtroom with a really international reach.’ So there was’nothing sexier’ than Israel-Palestine for her. Ein Rashash: A Typical West Bank Morning Under Illegal Israeli Occupation Darshan-Leitner’s bio identifies her as an’Israeli civil rights lawyer and president of the Shurat HaDin Law Center’ – the establishment that has been known to offer such trips as the’Ultimate Mission to Israel,’ in which individuals with a great deal of excess cash can do exciting things like attend a’trial of Hamas terrorists’ in an Israeli military court. As for what the’law’ has to do with a country that has put itself unquestionably above it, perhaps the ICC’s far-from-perfect pursuit of’justice’ will highlight Israel’s abhorrence of that very concept.