Israel is currently fighting a three-pronged war in its on-going struggle to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorists – physical asymmetric warfare, cyberwar and lawfare. Together they constitute the three evil pillars of the Palestinian jihadist war strategy that are a severe threat to Israel’s security.
The most obvious is the unremitting rocket assaults launched from Gaza by Hamas and its jihadist brethren. Before the current hostilities broke out, they had already fired hundreds of rockets against Israeli civilian population centers all during 2012, despite repeated warnings by Israel to stop and letters to the UN Security Council that were repeatedly ignored. Finally, Israel decided that enough was enough. It had to send an unequivocal, forceful message or the daily terror suffered by its citizens would only get worse.
Starting the middle of last week, Israel launched its counter-attack against Hamas known as Operation Pillar of Defense. The first stage has involved hundreds of airstrikes on Hamas military and infrastructure targets, as well as assassinations of Hamas and other Islamist jihadist military leaders. The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system has intercepted over 300 rockets to date. A full-scale ground invasion is still under consideration.
The Israeli Defense Force has gone to great lengths to minimize civilian deaths in Gaza. Indeed, Israel is treating Gazan patients in its hospitals and has coordinated the transfer of truckloads of medical equipment and food into Gaza from Israel.
By contrast, Hamas and its co-jihadist savages deliberately target Israeli civilians. As of November 19, 2012, more than 1900 rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza, including rockets meant to target millions of civilians in the vicinities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Three Iranian produced Fajr-5 rockets were fired at Tel Aviv alone, Israel’s largest population center.
At least three Israeli civilians have died as a result of these attacks. Israeli children are terrified from the incessant rocket attacks and blaring sirens. All kindergartens and schools remain closed within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gaza border.
To his credit, President Obama has placed the blame for the current violence squarely on the shoulders of Hamas and has stood with Israel in asserting its right to self-defense.
“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” Obama said. “Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles. They were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”
The United States also appears to be maneuvering behind the scenes to prevent the Security Council from issuing a statement or passing a resolution, submitted by Morocco and Russia respectively, that does not hold Hamas accountable for precipitating the violence with its rocket attacks. Perhaps if the Security Council had acted when Israel first asked it to, the conflict would not have escalated.
However, Israel is fighting not only against the rockets launched from Gaza. Its computers are being hacked by a group that so bravely calls itself Anonymous, which has declared cyberwar on Israel. It has posted personal data of thousands of Israeli officials online and is trying, so far largely unsuccessfully, to sabotage Israel’s military security systems.
Anonymous posted this declaration of cyberwar- anonymously, of course:
“November 2012 will be a month to remember for Israel defense forces and internet security forces. Israeli Gov. this is/will turn into a cyberwar.”
Finally, Israel is facing a dangerous lawfare campaign to manipulate multi-national institutions, particularly the United Nations, and international law as weapons to punish Israeli officials for taking legitimate actions in the defense of Israeli civilians against jihadist barbarism.
The Palestinians and the UN establishment refer to November 29th – the date of the UN General Assembly’s Palestine Partition Resolution 181, under which the Palestinians could have had their own separate state sixty-five years ago side by side with the Jewish state of Israel – as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On November 29, 2012, the Palestinian Authority plans to submit a resolution to the General Assembly asking for its upgrade to a non-member observer state from mere observer entity status. The resolution is virtually certain to pass by a large margin. The United States has no veto power in the General Assembly as it does in the Security Council.
The purpose of the resolution is not just to serve as a feel-good gesture for the Palestinians. It is intended to codify, as part of what is known as customary international law, the UN General Assembly’s recognition of a Palestinian state based on “pre-1967 borders.”
The Palestinians won’t have a vote in the General Assembly as a result of the upgrade. However, more importantly to the Palestinians, it will allow them to leverage General Assembly recognition of their statehood status to obtain standing as a state in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other international forums. They will then be in a position to demand prosecution of Israeli officials, who are defending Israeli citizens against terrorist attacks, for alleged “war crimes,” “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.” Any civilian casualty in Gaza, including of women and children deliberately put in harm’s way by Hamas as human shields – will be presented as evidence of such crimes.
The ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to adjudicating alleged crimes that were either committed in a state that has consented to the ICC’s jurisdiction or by a state that has consented to its jurisdiction. Israel, like the United States, has not accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. That means the Palestinians can only invoke the ICC’s power to hear their case if they are considered a state, and the alleged crimes occur within the boundaries of their state’s territory.
In April 2012, the International Criminal Court prosecutor announced that he had rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the ICC investigate Israeli conduct during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. In a statement, the ICC said that “the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of ‘observer’, not as a ‘Non‐member State.'” The General Assembly’s elevation of Palestinian’s status to “non-member state” will open the door to ICC action.
“Once we become a recognized state, we will go to all UN agencies to force the international community to take legal action against Israel,” Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s central committee, told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.
Simply put, change the Palestinians’ status from non-member observer entity to non-member observer state through the General Assembly resolution and presto. This fabricated Palestinian “state” will be able to join the ICC by signing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The ICC will then be able to take jurisdiction to hear Palestinian complaints regarding attacks by Israel occurring on Palestinian “state” territory, even if Israel itself is not a member of the ICC and is only defending itself. Israeli officials and soldiers would be subject to arrest all over the world.
Not that it matters to the UN establishment, but the timing of the General Assembly resolution which the Palestinians are demanding would in all probability violate Article 12, Clause 1 of the UN Charter, which states:
“While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.”
The “dispute or situation” over Palestinian statehood, as well as what territory it should include, is still before the Security Council. The Palestinians have not withdrawn their application submitted last year to the Security Council for full UN member state recognition, which the Security Council has yet to either formally accept or reject. Any final decision by the Security Council would necessarily involve, as a threshold question, whether the Palestinians meet the basic criteria for statehood under international law in light of the dispute with Israel over what territory a new Palestinian state would include and the split of Palestinian governmental authority between Hamas over Gaza and the Palestinian Authority over the West Bank. Moreover, Security Council Resolution 242, which is still in force, pointedly left open the question of what territories Israeli forces would be required to withdraw from. The Palestinian Authority’s General Assembly Resolution presupposes that Israel would have to withdraw to pre-1967 lines.
Thus, the General Assembly’s action in approving the Palestinian resolution for recognition of any sort of statehood status on a UN-wide basis would improperly interject itself where it does not belong. The General Assembly would be improperly codifying that the Palestinians met the threshold criteria for statehood ahead of the Security Council’s final disposition of this issue one way or the other. It also would be replacing its definition of the territorial boundaries for the negotiated solution that Security Council Resolution 242 calls for the parties to reach, based on the principle of “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Resolution 242 also calls for “the establishment of demilitarized zones.”
Of course, violating its own Charter will not stop the UN establishment from doing the Palestinians’ bidding. The UN’s Office of Legal Affairs blew off my question on the legality of the General Assembly’s intrusion into the threshold dispute over whether the Palestinians qualify for UN-wide statehood recognition at any level. The UN’s lawyers called it “an entirely different matter” from what is before the Security Council. They are wrong, but it does not matter. The fix is in.
This is lawfare in action, which is intended to tie the hands of Israelis trying to defend their people. Meanwhile the terrorists continue to act with impunity in committing multiple crimes against humanity with thousands of aggressive rocket attacks, aimed at inflicting collective punishment on innocent Israeli civilians including children.
Rockets aimed at civilians, sabotage of Israeli computers and manipulation of international law are all critical parts of the interconnected Palestinian attack to liquidate all of Israel in step-by-step fashion.
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