(/sites/default/files/uploads/2015/01/icc.jpg)Amidst the rise of ISIS and the jihadi attacks in Europe, the International Criminal Court (ICC) admitted the Hamas-linked Palestinian Authority into its ranks, in effect, welcoming terrorists.
The Palestinians have long sought statehood. The official narrative proclaims a desire for an independent state in the “occupied territories” of Gaza and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capitol. But in reality, Palestinians consider all of Israel to be “occupied” and many seek the extermination of the State of Israel entirely.
Israel and Palestine are bound by the Oslo accords to negotiate for peace through bilateral talks. The premise is that Israel will relinquish land in exchange for peace and security. But when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, instead of receiving peace, Israel was bombarded with 10,000 Kassam rockets and Palestinians renamed their streets to “honor” jihadi martyrs.
Over the years, peace talks have failed repeatedly and negotiations have been interrupted by multitudes of Palestinian assaults on the Israeli civilian population. The Palestinian Authority (PA), the only representative of the Palestinians officially recognized by Israel and the U.S., has been unable to halt the terrorism.
To make matters worse, in 2014, the PA and Hamas joined together to form a “unity government” in an effort to reconcile the Fatah-Hamas conflict. This “reconciliation”, in effect, made the PA official collaborators with Hamas, which is a State-designated terrorist organization. Hamas refuses to recognize the State of Israel or to negotiate with her. Its charter spells out its mission to obliterate Israel through violence, and its deeds back up its words.
It is illegal to fund a terrorist organization and there is no exception for the U.S. government. However, the Obama Administration has bent over backwards to find legal loopholes through which it could still funnel financial aid to “Palestine,” to the tune of 400 million dollars annually. In contrast, Israeli officials refuse to negotiate with a terror-affiliated entity.
PA President Abbas publicly proclaimed that the unity government would recognize Israel’s right to exist, be non-violent, and be bound by prior PLO agreements. The Hamas spokesperson, on the other hand, admits that it never did, or would, recognize the State of Israel. Furthermore, Hamas claims that its affiliation with the PA ended after a six month term. Abbas insists to the contrary, that the unity government is still in full force.
Either way, “Palestine” is not a state, and therefore fails to qualify for ICC membership. Never-the-less, in an attempt to make an end-run around bi-lateral negotiations, the Palestinians applied for, and obtained, an upgrade in UN status. In 2012, pursuant to a UN General Assembly vote, Palestine’s status went from “observer entity” to “non-member observer state”. This change in status made admission to the ICC possible.
It is noteworthy that this is the same GA that on a regular and frequent basis, passes anti-Israel resolutions. Indeed, the entire UN apparatus in incredibly biased, holding Israel to a standard to which no other country is held. Resolutions condemning Israel in the GA and the Human Rights Council are numerous, while both bodies turn a blind eye to real human rights abuses in countries like Sudan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, Palestine has been lobbying countries to provide it with unilateral recognition of statehood. Many states have acquiesced, with a swell in the western ranks during 2014, though sometimes the recognition extended is diplomatic and not legally binding. These states include Sweden, France, Spain, Britain, Ireland, and Iceland, as well as the EU.
Palestine’s goal has been to join the ICC for the purpose of filing claims against Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity, in an attempt to force unilateral concessions without an exchange of peace. Already, the PA is preparing its paperwork for submission to the ICC. The PA seeks to have Israel prosecuted for its 2014 campaign against Gaza, though it was a response to Palestinian terrorism and the illegal smuggling of weapons through underground tunnels. Additionally, the PA wants Israel prosecuted for her settlements on so-called “occupied territory”, despite the fact that it is quite a stretch to allege that settlement activity constitutes a war crime.
Israel is not a member of the ICC, but the ICC asserts jurisdiction over anyone that commits war crimes or crimes against humanity on the territory of its member states. Jurisdictional disputes are determined by the ICC itself, demonstrating one of the many problems with its expansive, unchecked power. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has already promised that Israel will stand by the IDF soldiers as they have defended Israel, but what that means in legal terms is unclear. Israeli citizens are also at risk for potential prosecution if the ICC accepts the PA’s case.
Already there is blowback from the PA’s move to ICC membership, which Israel considers to be a game-changer of escalatory proportion. Accordingly, Israel has frozen 127 million dollars in tax revenue designated for the PA, which the Palestinians direly need, and the peace talks are virtually dead. Additionally, U.S. officials are re-evaluating appropriations and will consider legislation to cease U.S. aid to “Palestine” if it demands the prosecution of Israel.
Still, the PA seeks momentum in the court of public opinion. Its goal on the world stage is to gain international recognition of Palestinian statehood and to delegitimize Israel.
On June 13, 2014, “Palestine” accepted ICC jurisdiction by means of a declaration pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statue (the treaty that provides for the creation and jurisdiction of the ICC). The PA government signed the Rome Statute on December 31, 2014. This was one day subsequent to its failed bid at the UN Security Council to pass a resolution calling for Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders within the next three years. “The State of Palestine’s” instruments of accession to the ICC were deposited and effected as of January 2, 2015. The PA also signed a multitude of treaties and international conventions shortly thereafter.
The official date on which Palestine will become a full-fledged ICC member is on April 1, 2015, April Fool’s Day. In a world where anti-Semitism and Islamic jihad are on the rise (both stealth and violent), April Fool’s Day will be a grim day indeed. But the joke is not on Palestine. It will be on all those in the West who profess to care about freedom and human rights, but have abandoned their principles in capitulation to Islamist demands and welcomed terrorists into their midst.
Don’t miss Deborah Weiss’ speech: How Muslim Brotherhood Front Groups are Silencing Freedom of Speech, Intimidating Business and Stealing American Freedom. (And make sure to vote for it to be a highlighted speech).
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