‘Palestine’ and the International Criminal Court
The Palestinian Authority’s latest unilateral attempt to gain recognition as a state without negotiating any concessions failed Tuesday. But other mischief remains in play, including Wednesday’s move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Earlier this month, “Palestine” was upgraded from “observer entity” to “observer state” at the ICC. It was another milestone on the Palestinian Authority’s road to international recognition as a state without having to negotiate directly with Israel, make any concessions, or commit to a genuine dialogue for peace – a unilateral step directly violating both the Oslo Accords and UN Resolution 242. Numerous countries supported the move know – but are apathetic to the fact that their actions only reinforce the PA’s intransigence and destroy any motivation the Palestinians might have had to compromise on any issue that would bring about a just peace for both sides.
The Palestinian Authority’s dream to try Israel in the ICC for so-called “war crimes” in the Gaza Strip is the height of absurdity. The PLO won international recognition after it claimed to have abandoned terrorism against Israel. If its operational wing, the Palestinian Authority, manages to penetrate the international legal network, sign the Rome Convention, and bring Israel to trial for its activities in the Gaza Strip, senior PLO and Palestinian Authority figures will immediately find themselves in the ICC accused of their own crimes.
The Palestinian national consensus government, with Rami Hamdallah as prime minister and Mahmoud Abbas as “president,” is a coalition with Hamas, whose suicide bombers blew themselves up in Israel on busy streets and in crowded public places and caused thousands of deaths and maimings, to say nothing of abducting and murdering three teenaged boys just six months ago. The Palestinian government is responsible for the war crimes committed by Hamas this past summer, including launching long-range rockets at densely populated cities, among them Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and sending its death squads to murder Israeli civilians indiscriminately.
Israel conducts military operations against Palestinian terrorism with pinpoint precision and in accordance with the best international legal and moral criteria. This past summer, as always, it warned the civilian population before it attacked terrorists, whose leaders had fled like rats into the basements of hospitals to wait out the war. In contrast, Palestinian terrorist organizations deliberately attacked the Israeli civilian population; they uttered no word of regret or sorrow, and certainly did not appoint a committee to investigate.
While Palestinians bemoan their failure to carry out a mass slaughter of Israeli civilians and destroy the country’s infrastructure, mainly thanks to the Iron Dome aerial defense system, Israel is undertaking a comprehensive examination of complaints lodged by Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community regarding possible illegal actions taken by Israeli soldiers and officers during Operation Protective Edge.
No country comes close to Israel in following the letter of the laws of warfare. Arab countries, many of which are currently engaged in mutual slaughter, cannot even approximate Israel’s conduct when it comes to morality. Needless to say, no Palestinian or other terrorist organization has ever examined its own behavior the way Israel constantly does.
There are many Palestinians honest enough to admit – although not brave enough to do so publicly – that if they had the weapons Israel does, not one single Israeli would be left alive. Article 7 of the Hamas charter decrees the total annihilation of all the Jews in the world. Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas’ partner in the Palestinian national consensus government, had the unmitigated gall to stand before the UN General Assembly and accuse Israel of genocide.
The Palestinians have received symbolic recognition for their “state” from the parliaments of Britain, Spain, France, Sweden and the EU, but they still have a long road to statehood if they cannot come to terms with Israel.
Hamas’s recent attacks on the Israeli civilian population and the current chaos engulfing the Middle East have forced Israel to take extreme precautions regarding its security and not to accept any of the more adventurous international solutions for the conflict which will endanger its security. The regional conflicts and massacres in the Middle East show the Palestinian issue isn’t the key to peace. This chaos clearly indicates that there is no connection between the general regional tragedy and the Palestinian issue. Nevertheless, there are still many people who cling to the fiction that resolving the Palestinian issue will, like a magic wand, cure all the ills of the Middle East.
It is obvious that the Gulf states, rather than dealing with the marginal Palestinian issue, are deploying to face the threat of a nuclear Iran, the drop in oil prices and America’s weakness in dealing with the Middle East. In view of the worsening schism between the Russian-backed Shi’ite bloc of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon on the one hand, and the Sunni bloc of the rest of the Arab-Muslim world on the other, the repeated demands of the emir of Qatar (with Turkish backing) to solve the Palestinian issue while encouraging the Islamic terrorist organizations are ridiculous. Qatar, Turkey and their friends in the EU behave as if the utterly irrelevant Palestinian issue had anything to do with the current situation in the Middle East.
In reality, the Palestinian issue is not even floating around the perimeter of the Middle East’s problems, despite Qatar’s efforts to bring it center stage. It is grotesque that, aside from Arab extremists in Israel who support Qatar and Turkey, Israeli extremists are indulging in provocation to aggravate problems unnecessarily. These provocations include the settlements, the fairly unnecessary Jewish national homeland law and the obsession of the Messianic Jews with praying on the Temple Mount although it is forbidden by Jewish religious law. The attempts of extremist Jews to change the status quo serve only the unfounded claim of Palestinian subversives that Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger of destruction.
Furthermore, the Shi’ite regime in Tehran, blithely ignoring America’s pathetic declarations, marches steadily towards an atomic bomb. It is also becoming clearer that the Iranians have tightened their hold on Sana’a, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. In the meantime, the Sunni states suffer from internal schisms, polarized by Turkey and Qatar, which support the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, ISIS and other Islamist terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Africa. The terrorist organizations, the fruit of the poison tree of Qatar and Turkey (which has given a safe haven to Hamas arch-terrorist Salah al-Arouri) are an internal threat to the Arab regimes, as the Muslim Brotherhood is an internal threat to Egypt. Turkey and Qatar.
Qatar patched up relations with Egypt and the Gulf states recently, but supports the terrorist organizations with money, arms and training bases, revealing its agenda to exploit the chaos in the Middle East to impose a radical Islamic regime on the region, a new Ottoman Empire, at the expense of enlightenment and progress.
The situation is explosive, anomic and rife with contradictions. Turkey, in its desire to destroy the Assad regime and the pro-Iranian administration in Baghdad, supports terrorist organizations such as ISIS. It also supports Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, endangering Israel and Egypt, both American allies. America, Turkey’s ally in NATO, bombs ISIS, thereby strengthening the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon (Hizballah) axis, sworn enemies of America’s other ally, Israel, instead of weakening it. And when Israel allegedly strikes strategic weapons meant for Hizballah, the enemies of the Assad regime, among them Turkey and ISIS, are immediately strengthened and Israel is condemned by Russia, which supplied the weapons to Syria and attacked Ukraine.
Within the Middle East’s tangle of tragedy, refugees, destruction and slaughter, ISIS issued the Islamic laissez-faire for the rape of women taken captive: Yazidi women, Christian women, Jewish women. The manifesto of sexual horror appeared alongside the bombings, destruction of mosques and churches on the heads of worshippers, murders and beheadings that have made incomprehensible the steps taken by Europe against Israel, an island of sanity in a sea of Islamist madness. They have turned the UN commission headed by William Schabas, a proud anti-Semite, who is supposed to investigate objectively the “war crimes” committed by Israel into yet another chapter of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Schabas, the man who will judge Israel’s actions, has accused the Jewish state of war crimes in the past, has refused to classify Hamas as a terrorist group, and has a record of defending Iran’s nuclear weapons program as understandable and a defensive necessity.
The European Union, long an enclave of regression and a cat’s paw for violent radical Islam, is trying to destroy Israel. Although Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at exclusively civilian targets (they only hit military bases when they fly off course) and is developing longer-range and more lethal rockets, the EU countries take no notice. They refuse to understand that the Palestinian Authority can barely rule the West Bank and has no chance of competing with Hamas’ popularity in the Gaza Strip, especially now that the Europeans, in their endless folly, have taken Hamas off the list of terrorist organizations.
Abbas has even threatened to stop the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel, a delusional idea because it is Israel that keeps him in power. Without Israel, the Palestinian national consensus government is a lost cause. In 2006, without security coordination with Israel, Fatah lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas, which threw Fatah supporters from the rooftops of high-rise buildings and kneecapped others. Abbas, a notorious Holocaust denier, deliberately uses the figure six million when counting the number of Palestinians scattered around the world as “refugees.” It is a pathetic attempt to link the Palestinians to the number of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis in Europe. In reality 600,000 original Arabs fled Israeli territory in 1948 and their descendants can in no way be considered refugees today. Abbas cynically clutches the so-called “right of return” of the “six million Palestinian refugees” as a way to destroy Israel demographically.
It is absurd that the Jewish people, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, has to seek recognition and permission to exist from the newly-formed Palestinian Authority, itself torn by internal strife and power struggles. However, demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is meant to show, at the symbolic-semantic level at least, that the Palestinians are sincere in their desire for peace. Unfortunately, Abbas cannot bring himself to do that. Instead he uses the pulpit of the UN to declare that the Jews “pollute” the holy places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem.
While Abbas bemoans the fact that Palestinians with no claim whatsoever on Israel cannot move en masse into its territory, he and the rest of the world conveniently ignore the absurd situation in which the descendants of the original refugees living in various Arab countries are not citizens, do not have the “status” of refugees, cannot hold most of the well-paying jobs, and basically have no civil rights at all. Israel, on the other hand, took in 800,000 Jewish refugees expelled from the Arab countries, without receiving reparations for the trillions of dollars of assets they were forced to leave behind.
EU leaders, reading from texts scripted by the Islamist terrorist organizations, are far more “shocked” by the so-called “war crimes” committed by Israel than by what their own ancestors did to the Jews, which can never be forgiven. The Europeans, who bear the responsibility for what happened to the Jews in Second World War, are trying to represent the Israelis as committing worse crimes than the Europeans who willingly, and in some cases eagerly, collaborated with the Nazi, as a way of shifting the mark of Cain from their own foreheads. They have to accept and openly declare that not one single Palestinian will enter Israel under the fictitious “right of return” and that if the “six million” Palestinian refugees want to return, they will return to the Palestinian state that may actually be established some day (a catastrophe in its own right).
Allowing “Palestine” to change its status in the ICC from “observer entity” to “observer state” is not a solution to any problem the Palestinians may have. Rather, it is another roadblock on the peaceful road to statehood. If the Hamas-Fatah terrorism conglomerate receives legitimacy from the nations of the world, the day is not far off that ISIS will have the same status with the support of the EU, and the Islamic Caliphate will achieve its manifest destiny. The recent dangerous European court decision to take Hamas off the list of terrorist organizations is another milestone on Europe’s suicidal race to hell. The Americans, in the meantime, use their veto in the Security Council to support Israel, although facing the global typhoon of radical Islamism and terror they are like Hans Brinker, finger in the dike (Israel) to keep the tsunami of Islamist terrorism from engulfing Europe.
Dr. Reuven Berko has a Ph.D. in Middle East studies, is a commentator on Israeli Arabic TV programs, writes for the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom and is considered one of Israel’s top experts on Arab affairs.