By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 12/21/19 |
Yesterday, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the ICC will be launching a full investigation into war crimes taking place in the Palestinian Territories by both Israel and the Palestinians, at the request of the Palestinians themselves.
Israel’s official reaction to the announcement was akin to a teenager being told by his mother that she was about to search his room for firecrackers the night before Halloween.
‘This is a dark day for truth and justice. It is a baseless and outrageous decision,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wailed in response just after stating the ‘Court has no jurisdiction’ to investigate Palestine because Israel isn’t a member of the ICC. If the fallacy of Netanyahu’s argument escaped you just now, take a second to think about that. To reiterate, the investigation will be conducted in Palestinian territories.
Besides, if Israel isn’t committing war crimes, which the whole world knows it has been since the mid-20th century, then Netanyahu has nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear. His response more than indicates he knows this not to be the case.
For a little background for those a little foggy on the subject, portions of the Arab territory known as Palestine — the god-given Muslim Holy Land according to Islamic scripture — was given by the British Government (who didn’t own it) to a political faction of European Jews known as ‘Zionists’ in 1917 through a document known as the Balfour Declaration. Jews, just like Muslims, also consider Palestine their Holy Land based on their own scripture, as Palestine two-thousand years ago was Israel, the birthplace and homeland of the Judaic faith. Both religions claim divine right to the region. Aside from major geopolitical disagreements, this theologically driven madness also presents a huge problem in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Despite the Zionists receiving the blessing of the British government to begin settling in Palestine in 1917, most European Jews weren’t that enthused about the deal, and very few began to migrate and settle down there.
That all changed after the horrendous events that unfolded during WWII, namely the Jewish Holocaust so callously committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazis. When the war was over, the newly formed UN followed the sentiments of the Balfour Agreement and partitioned Palestine into two states, one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians. Droves of European Jews then began to flood Palestine and make it their home. Thus, in 1947, the State of Israel was born.
In other words, to paraphrase UK politician George Galloway, one group of people granted another group of people the country of a third group of people, for which they had no right to do:
Needless to say, the Palestinians were understandably unhappy with this turn of events. In their opinion, a bunch of people in Europe just parceled off their land to a bunch of uninvited foreigners. They were paying the price — literally losing their homes (and continue to) — for the crimes of Europeans they had nothing to do with. Wars erupted instantly, and since then, despite international laws being broken all over the place, Israel has continued to grow while Palestine has been, and is being, systematically eradicated from the map.
Today only two tiny parcels of land exist for the Palestinians, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, both of which are fenced up and occupied by Israeli military forces, while illegal land grabs at the hands of Israelis have never ceased. In fact lately they’ve been speeding up.
Now, to be fair, war crimes have been committed by both sides in this never ending skirmish — the militant Palestinian group Hamas being the main aggressor on the Palestinian side. But when one looks at the evidence objectively, one side bears much more guilt than the other, especially when it comes to outright brutal aggression. That side is the Israelis. What is happening to the Palestinian people, no matter what apologists try to say to the contrary, is a pretty cut-and-dry example of genocide in action.
Protected by the United States and Britain (where its lobbies reign supreme), Israel has been able to sidestep international charges for its egregious behavior throughout history, though efforts have been made to boycott, investigate, and penalize the state by a vast amount of politicians and organizations the world round. Now it seems a real investigation will be taking place and Israel isn’t happy about it.
Aside from Netanyahu’s comments, Israel’s foreign minister stated that Fatou Bensouda, the ICC’s prosecutor who is launching the investigation, ‘has been influenced by Palestinian manipulation, which aims to weaponize the court.’
Fearing an impending investigation, Israel’s attorney-general published a legal opinion that the ICC has no jurisdiction in the West Bank or in Gaza.–The Independent, UK.
The argument stated only sovereign states can refer the situation to the ICC and that Israel has a valid claim over the Palestinian Territories.
However, Palestine, although not universally recognised as a sovereign state, became a recognised member of the ICC in January 2015, meaning they can ask the court to investigate crimes.
The war crimes specifically mentioned in Bensouda’s request to the ICC’s pre-trial chamber include ‘Israel’s use of deadly force against protesters in Gaza, willful killing, Israeli settlements and intentionally directing attacks on protected persons as well as hospitals and medics during different military operations,’ while ‘on the Palestinian side, she mentioned the attacks on civilians perpetrated by Hamas and other militant groups, their alleged use of human shields, as well as torture, inhuman treatment and the deprivation of fair trial’ (Independent UK).
While Israel has lashed out at the investigators, Palestinian leaders, such as Hanan Ashrawi, have praised the news, calling it ‘a positive step’ while adding that ‘Israel must pay for its crimes and the Palestinian people will not accept exclusion from the universality of human rights.’
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