How Israel should respond to the ICC

The soft diplomatic approach failed to prevent the unfortunate outcome. Israel must now adopt a new much more offensive approach

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda (Screenshot)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an official investigation regarding suspected “war crimes” committed in the “situation in Palestine” by claiming the decision was “undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.” PM Netanyahu made the same claim after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber ruled, on February 5, to invent the nonexistent “State of Palestine” and set its “borders” based on the 1949 armistice lines.

PM Netanyahu is of course entirely correct. The ICC was meant to be an independent, permanent court that would serve as a forum of last resort for punishing the worst of war criminals. In reality, when it comes to Israel, the ICC, similar to the UN, has allowed itself to be hi-jacked and manipulated by Ramallah and Gaza, to be used as a weapon to persecute the Jews.

Suddenly, the geographical area to which the international community recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people” and was set aside for “reconstituting [the Jewish] national home” has now become, according to the ICC, an area in which Jews not only have no history, but their mere presence therein constitutes nothing less than a “war crime”.

For the last 6 years, since “Palestine” joined the ICC, the Israeli legal and diplomatic establishments have tried to engage, directly and indirectly, with the court in order to avert its anti-Semitic decisions. These efforts have failed.

In this war, words, reason, facts and legal arguments, however justified they may be, have limited value. Quiet diplomacy has failed. Now is the time for real action.

Considering the new ICC aggression, here are four real actions Israel must adopt.

Expel the UN personnel in Israel

The body most responsible for perpetuating the fallacy that a “State of Palestine” actually exists is the UN. The UN representatives in Israel spend all their waking hours supporting the Palestinian claims to statehood. They run working groups, comprised of Israel hating NGO’s that often have close connections to internationally designated terror groups that invent alternative realities and churn out report after report accusing Israel of a plethora of offences.

Since the UN and its representatives are responsible for the vile Antisemitism reflected by the ICC prosecutor, Israel’s first step must be to expel all the UN personnel in Israel. The intention to adopt this course of action should have been declared months ago and should have been implemented the moment the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decided to invent “Palestine”.

Stop funding the Palestinian Authority

The decision of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to join the ICC was a fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords. Every year, pursuant to the breached Oslo Accords, Israel gives the PA billions of shekels. These funds are over 50% of the PA’s entire revenue. The PA uses the money to fund its ICC drive and as such, in practice, ISRAEL IS FUNDING the PA actions in the ICC. The PA’s other use for the funds provided by Israel is to fund its pugnacious “Pay for Slay” terror reward policy.

This ludicrous situation cannot continue. If the “State of Palestine” exists, independent of and in breach of the Oslo Accords, then Israel must stop giving the PA the means to promote its Antisemitism in the ICC. Until the fictitious “State of Palestine” pulls out of the ICC, Israel should stop transferring ANY FUNDS or providing any services and privileges to the PA and its representatives.

End the confusion

For over five decades, Israel has failed to make a clear claim to any part of Judea and Samaria merely arguing that they are “disputed areas”. This policy allowed the ICC prosecutor to make the following argument: Since Israel has never fully claimed Judea and Samaria, but the Palestinians have clearly claimed the “West Bank,” the area must belong to the Palestinians.

Since Israel’s lack of a clear claim is being used against us politically, it is time for this ambiguous Israeli policy to end. Israel must make clear to the world that it has the right to all of this land and that it is our claim that has all the legal backing. Israel must stake its legal and historically justified claim unequivocally, leaving no room for any misconception, so that no one can argue that Israel’s lack of claim proves that the land is Palestinian.

Sanction NGO’s promoting Antisemitism

The PA efforts to demonize Israel are supported by foreign funded Israeli NGO’s such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. While claiming to promote human rights, in practice, these organizations are foreign agents who invent libelous fallacies against Israel, which promote racist Antisemitism. Promoting racism is a crime in Israel. Since these organizations are actively committing a crime, they and the others like them should be banned and prevented from conducting any activities in Israel.

The dangers to Israel and Israelis posed by the ICC are substantial. For years, Israel has tried the soft legal-diplomatic approach. As this approach has clearly failed, Israel must now adopt a much more comprehensive and aggressive approach. The kid gloves must come off.

Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is the Director of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position he served as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

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