36 thoughts on “Death of Irony: U.S. Threatens PA Funding for Joining Criminal Court – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. The fundamental misconception in your approach lies in treating the UN (and the ICC in particular) in usual national terms. Over there EVERYTHING is political including what is called legal – for instance, the UN human right council has routinely denounced Israel and left alone others with far more serious deeds if they had the necessary political clout (either because they are big or are part of a political block). It`s all biased to the roots and reflect political interests and calculations so going there by the PA is interpreted accordingly as a politically hostile move – hence there is no irony here at all.

    1. @ Rambo

      We have here the usual whine about poor Israel being possibly picked on while states who have committed far worse crimes escape prosecution.

      What is ignored here is that the ICC has only limited jurisdiction. The ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This jurisdiction “extends only to cases in which either the state on whose territory the acts in question occurred or the state of which the accused is a national is either a party to the statute or has accepted “the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to the [crime in question].” “

      So on that ground for instance Indonesia’s crimes in Papua or Sri Lanka’s crimes against the Tamils cannot be prosecuted because neither Indonesia nor Sri Lanka are parties to the Rome Statute. Their victims, being groups without a state, aren’t either.

      Having said that I am not so sure whether there is any state in the world, whether party or non-party to the Statute, that has committed the variety of prosecutable crimes Israel can be found guilty of.

      We have “an embarrassment of riches” here.

      We can start with some of the clauses concerning genocide:

      “Article 6 Genocide

      For the purpose of this Statute, ‘genocide’ means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

      Killing members of the group;

      (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

      (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;”

      Particularly 6c seems to me eminently applicable to Gaza.

      Then article 7 – Crimes against humanity

      Here we have, inter alia, the crime of “apartheid” defined as “ inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

      I think parts of the West Bank provide excellent examples here.

      Then we get

      Article 8 * War Crimes”

      Under 8 2.iv we find (iv) “Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;”
      And under 8.2 b:

      “(i) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;

      (ii) Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;

      (iii) Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;

      (iv) Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;”

      All perfectly applicable to the various Israeli onslaughts on Gaza.

      And then the prime article (under 8. 2 b) that defines as a war crime:

      “(viii) The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, …”

      Settlerism is in itself a war crime – apart from the individual crimes committed by settlers against Palestinians.

      Contrary to Rambo’s whine about Israel being unfairly picked on I cannot think of any other state that is prosecutable under the Rome Statute for this variety of crimes.

      1. @Arie

        Ah yes… Section 8.(2) (b)(viii), the Rome Statute’s only anti-Israel law, which only came into being on account of the intense lobbying efforts to the Arabs States back in the 1990’s.
        In other words, the drafting committee changed it’s mind and caved in under Arab pressure.

        “During the December 1997 session, this provision generated heated debates, as a result of which four options were submitted for discussion at the Rome Conference.‘°’ At Rome, it soon became clear that a large majority of delegations preferred a provision based on the wording of the Additional Protocol. However. the Arab delegations wanted to adapt this language. in order to make clear that an occupying power is not only responsible for this act if it deliberately organizes the transfer of its own population into occupied territory, but also if it does not take effective steps to prevent the population itself from organizing such a transfer. After some negotiations, the words “directly or indirectly” were added to this provision. ”


        See Page 112, https://books.google.it/books?id=6_4TeGhBAZYC&dq=rome+statute+occupied+territories+transfer&q=December+1997#v=snippet&q=December%201997&f=false

        1. @ Figg

          Section 8.(2) (b) (viii) of the Rome Statute has as its predecessor Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention which dates from 1949 and to which Israel has been a High Contracting Party since 1951. This article was not specifically aimed at Israel though some Israelis find it difficult to accept that their country is not always the center of international affairs.

          The Article says ;”The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It is on this basis that virtually the whole international community has deemed the settlements illegal (though the US has taken a bit of a wobbly position in this regard). Thus this alleged “Arab interference” in the formulation of the Rome Statute is not the basis of this international opinion. It only formulated more precisely the view that has long been held.

          Israel’s interpretation of this article of the Fourth Geneva Convention is odd and not shared by any international organisation.

        2. @ Figg: What do we care what went into the passage of the Rome Statute? What we’re interested in is the result. The result is that Israeli settlements are a violation of international law. For that is all ye need to know…

          1. @RS

            A court whose rules are created not for the purposes of justice but for the purpose of political revenge against a single state is flawed from the start.

            I care because because due to political pressure, the crime of allowing an Occupier’s citizens to settling in occupied territory is now on par with the most heinous and grievous war crimes.

            I care because the EU funds the settlement of ethnic Turkish settlers in occupied Northern Cyprus while sanctioning Israel for the very same ‘war crime’.

          2. @ Figg: Such horse manure. The ICC wasn’t created to punish Israel. This is obsessive Israeli narcissim coming to the fore. Everything bad in the world is directed at them & all the good directed to others.

            Stop bitching about “political pressure.” It’s just an excuse to try to avoid jurisdiction. You’re either in or you’re out. If you’re out then Palestine has every right to drag you to the Hague against your will (and they will).

            So you believe Israel’s theft of Palestinian patrimony, of their land and national rights is not on a par with other heinous international crimes? I’ve got news for you buster, it may not bother you, but it sure as hell bothers the rest of the world. Israeli Occupation isn’t merely “settling” in Palestinian territory. It’s wholesale national theft. And you won’t get away with it. So keep trying to wiggle out of it every which way you can. It’s like one of those rope knots, the more you try to wriggle the tighter it gets.

            Cyprus is ENTIRELY off topic. If you continue bringing up off topic subjects you will be moderated.

          3. [comment deleted: When your comment is flagged as off topic it doesn’t mean you get to explain why it wasn’t. You move on. If you don’t, you may move elsewhere.]

    2. @ Rambo:

      Over there EVERYTHING is political including what is called legal

      In a post devoted to the death of irony, you’ve proven that it still has quite a kick. You decry the UN “over there” because “everything is political including what is called legal.” That applies far more to Israel than the UN. Israel’s legal system is far more corrupted on behalf of political and security interests.

      Diverting the discussion from Israel’s misdeeds to “all the far more serious deeds” of other nations is classic hasbara. Are you just beginning the course? Or entering the intermediate level?

    1. @ Figg: Hmm, you link to a Forbes article dissing the ICC. Why am I not surprised? You ought to broaden your sources beyond the usual pro-Israel, pro-capital, pro-GOP suspects.

      And if the ICC is as inept as you claim, then what are you afraid of? Kenyatta got off. Israel might be able to do the same. Give it a shot. If he does, then he can claim a clean bill of health for the next few generations & thumb his nose at the rest of us who decry his misdeeds.

      1. My point is that the ICC should be very selective in whom they prosecute. My point is that the ICC doesn’t prosecute States or demarcate borders. The ICC should continue to prosecute the perpetrators of “unimaginable atrocities” and to stay out of politics, peacemaking and ordinary warfare.

        1. I am pretty sure that the ICC doesn’t care a figg (pun intended) about your opinion. But going into it: a lot of people would find what Israel did to Gaza an “unimaginable atrocity” and not “ordinary warfare”. The Rome Statute is at any case clear on this latter point.

          1. @Arie

            And a clear minded, objective jurist might find that lobbing thousand of rockets at Israeli civilian targets during Operation Protective Edge was also an “unimaginable atrocity”, which is why the ICC will reject the PA’s petition.

          2. @ Figg: Killing 1 civilian with those 1,000 rockets as opposed to Israel killing 2,300 with tanks, artillery, F-16s & massive firepower? WHich is the real “unimaginable atrocity?” But you know what, let’s take both cases to the Hague. I have no problem bringing Palestinian militants to the Hague as long as Israelis go there first. In the past few years, Israel has killed 25 Palestinians for every Israeli killed. If I were a lawyer considering a case, I’d gladly take those odds in terms of which side would received the harsher punishment.

  2. The threat of witholding taxes that belong to the PA is used as collateral against the massive debt of the PA to the state owned electricity company.

    1. Riiiiight. And what “right” does the Israeli govt have to act as the repo man for an Israeli electricity utility?

    2. Yes, and Putin ensures that oligarchs he’s going to depose and democratic rights activists always have massive debts they owe to other companies or the state, which they cannot possibly repay. So the state gets to steal dissident oligarchs blind so assets can be reallocated to whoever is the boss’ chum of the moment.

      Why does Palestine even need to use Israel’s electric company? If Palestine weren’t enslaved economically to Israel, it could create its own power grid. So sorry Charlie, you’ll get no sympathy here for that argument.

      1. “Why does Palestine even need to use Israel’s electric company? If Palestine weren’t enslaved economically to Israel, it could create its own power grid. So sorry Charlie, you’ll get no sympathy here for that argument.”
        Here is a prime example of you really not knowing what is going on בשטח.
        In the ’70’s and into the ’80’s + the Jordanians supplied elec to many places in Jer e.g. Ramot, East Jerusalem and the old city and I believe French Hill and Neve Ya’akov.
        Their service was eventually terminated for what ever reason and the service was awful, e.g. two meters one for regular elec and one for the hot water boiler which could be only used at very limited time for hot water otherwise it would not turn on. Therefore if one forgot to put on the boiler a the appointed hours one could not wash or shower. They even accused me of stealing elec with no premiss what so ever and I had to go to their offices then on Saleh al-din street where they immediately turned it back on.
        The elec the Israel supplies {and also water} to the Ramallah etc and Gaze has accrued a debt of millions of $ and as of yet they have not paid for their elec. If I don’t pay, after a month they will turn my elec off!
        So buy not transferring this money this is something which should have been done long ago to pay off their bills and it is not collective punishment meted out by Israel but self-inflicted by our cousins.

  3. Of course all nations and nation-like states should agree to ICC jurisdiction. The system is cumbersome and expensive because the ICC goes to great lengths to be fair, not just appear fair. Think ahead: Israeli solders who go too far and terrorists of all stripes, AND THE GOVERNMENTAL LEADERS AND RICH FOLKS WHO CONDONE OR FUND THEM all become potentially liable to prosecution even if they control the courts in their own countries. Targeting civilians, or conducting military operations in such a way that unnecessarily endanger civilians, is a war crime. Who could really argue with that? Extremists from all sides, that’s who. Disclosure: I did a small amount of paid work for the ICC in summer, 2005, just as it was getting into operation, and unpaid work for the Yugoslav tribunal (upon which the ICC was modeled).

  4. I’m sure the Gaza onslaught looks sexy as a first-up case for prosecution, but it would be the wrong target

    The SETTLEMENTS are defined as a war crime under the Rome Statute, and Israel’s leadership has no excuse – none whatsoever – to claim that the ICC has no jurisdiction over that crime

    And open-and-shut case, and the actual Prime Minister of Israel would be the defendant.

    Not only that, but if an ICC indictment makes the “settlement enterprise” a liability to Israel then…… what is the point of continuing this endless occupation?

    1. “And open-and-shut case, and the actual Prime Minister of Israel would be the defendant. ”

      This is magical thinking.
      The two parties need to sit down, make compromises, and hammer out a peace deal.
      The biggest question is how the PA can reach an accord without Hamas on board

      1. @ Figg

        The Palestinians might, at this stage, no longer feel inclined to seek compromise with a government that hasn’t shown the slightest taste for it. We could have the first step here of a “legal intifada” of which Professor Francis Boyle has indicated the various steps:

        “1. “Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;
        2. “Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;
        3. “Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;
        4. “Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];
        5. “Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;
        6. “Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths.” “

        1. No Arie.

          It was with distaste that Israel released one hundred terrorists this year, terrorists with blood on their hands, just in order to get the PA to sit down and play at negotiations.

          Palestine can join any club it likes to garner the trappings of statehood, but that doesn’t create a viable State. Maybe Abbas needs to get Hamas to stand down and halt terrorism same as the I.R.A. did in Ireland.

          On second thought, that’s magical thinking too.

          1. @ FIgg: It is with “distaste” the rest of the world looks at Israeli rejectionism and excuses of all sorts not to do what everyone knows must be done: to strike a deal. As for “terrorists” with “blood on their hands,” I can name you a few score Israeli terrorists with blood on their hands who sit in their villas and jet around the world striking commercial deals. That’s what makes my blood boil. And these terrorists killed a lot more Palestinians in cold blood than those Palestinians terrorists did.

            As for “magical thinking…” the thinking of hasbarists ain’t magical, but it sure is strange.

        2. I’ve often described the West Bank settlements as illegal, and they are certainly immoral and unwise. But the case is not a clear one despite the Rome Statute. Thus it is unlikely that the settlements themselves would be starter cases before the ICC. The 1949 convention basically says the victor cannot colonize territory taken in an offensive war. The 1967 armistice specifically says (and goes to great lengths to make it clear it says) that the Israeli conquest of the West Bank was in a defensive war — Jordan (which had annexed the West Bank and condoned ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem (as the Israelis were ethnically cleansing everywhere else in Palestine) declared war to reduce pressure on Egypt. Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt in 1967 so which side started the overall war is a tad murky as well. And would the Rome Statute override the Western-sponsored UN armistice resolution? The writers hoped it would, and it certainly would be fun to see, on an intellectual level, and I’d hope that it would. Personally, I’d go for the folks on all sides that finance terrorism (Bibi, the settlers, the Iranians, the USA, and on and on). Civilians should NEVER be fair game. I applaud the prisoner exchanges, but reject the idea that Palestinians should get a general “get out of jail free” card because their technology is lousy or because the Israelis are wealthier or have killed far more civilian innocents than have the Palestinians. Wrong is wrong and unjust acts put boulders in any possible path to peace.

        3. BTW Arie.
          Since you are now an expert in international law, I pose this question to you. Isn’t the PA’s effort to hale Israeli officials into the Hague docket a prima facie violation of the Oslo Accords? Isn’t the PA violating two specific Palestinian commitments from the Oslo Accords: to not seek a final status determination outside of negotiations, and giving Israeli exclusive jurisdiction over Israeli nationals in the territories. The Oslo Accords were an internationally-guaranteed agreement, so at best this ICC effort is born in illegality.

          As they still say in the Old Bailey, “He who comes into Equity must come with clean hands.”

          1. @ Figg: YOu are truly hilarious. You right-wingers absolutely detest Oslo and wish it an ignominious death. But you’re not above reviving it when it’s convenient in an argument with leftists. That’s the rankest hypocrisy. Why don’t you come back when you can point to any Israeli act that ever enforced any provisions of Oslo. Israel has never acted on any of the obligations it accepted on itself as a result of signing Oslo. Israel killed Oslo. So spare us the sanctimony of raising it’s poor dead body here, which you & yr hevra killed.

            I’m getting mighty tired of this ad nauseam soliloquy about the ICC. Make this your last comment in this thread.

      2. @ Figg: Nope. The Palestinians have already sat down, offered compromises that all but gave away the kitchen sink. That ship has sailed. No one believes your misbegotten leaders want anything but perpetual war (on their terms). The biggest question is can Israel reach an accord as long as ultra-nationalism is the name of the political game?

  5. @ Figg

    You wrote:

    “A court whose rules are created not for the purposes of justice but for the purpose of political revenge against a single state is flawed from the start.”

    This takes the cake among your uninformed comments. The first proposals to have such a court go back all the way to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Things were speeded up a bit after the Second World War and more so through the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. Israel has preciously little to do with that history. You should get accustomed to the idea that it is not the center of the universe.

    Elsewhere you wrote:

    “And a clear minded, objective jurist might find that lobbing thousand of rockets at Israeli civilian targets during Operation Protective Edge was also an “unimaginable atrocity”, which is why the ICC will reject the PA’s petition.”

    So that court created for revenge against a single state, Israel, will apparently all of a sudden turn around and forget about its origin. Well, good on it.

    Just for the record (as compiled by Phan Nguyen) the rockets killed 27 Israeli civilians between 2001 and 29th August 2014. Bad enough but far from “unimaginable”.

    1. @Arie

      I know perfectly well that the Rome Statutes grew out the Hague Conventions and it’s progeny.

      I didn’t say that Israel was the center of the universe. I said that one subsection of one Rome statute was specifically, and hypocritically, changed to target Israel.

      The Rome Statute language went beyond the Geneva Conventions to encompass the self-motivated migration of Israelis into the West Bank (and back then, Gaza). The Rome Statute makes “facilitation” a crime – i.e., to turn the negative prohibition on “transfer” into a newfangled positive obligation on a government to discourage or prevent its nationals from migrating; migration which includes both government-supported building projects and private construction and purchase, property belonging to Jews from before 1949, outposts built in defiance of government regulations.

  6. @ Figg
    The international community didn’t need the language of the Rome statute to consider the settlements as illegal. For the bulk of them the Israeli government provided the infrastructure and the inducements. And the so-called “self-motivated” intrusion into the West Bank would barely have existed if there hadn’t been a mental climate in Israel , encouraged from on high, of sneaky but hearty approval of the “wild cat” settlers.

    People don’t need the language of the Rome Statute to see theft as theft.

  7. Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) has filed three more war crimes suit against Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

    The three new complaints, against PLO leaders Jibril Rajoub, Majid Faraj and Rami Hamdallah, follow the Israeli NGO’s previous ground-breaking ICC complaints against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (filed in September) and against PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (filed in November) for war crimes and human rights violations.

    Mossad-Affiliated Israeli NGO: Khaled Meshal to the Hague | Sept. 2014 |

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