February 8, 2021
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.
Just declared hours ago, the International Criminal Court in the Hague announced that it believes they have jurisdiction to probe Israel-Hamas for war crimes. In a 2-1 decision Judges determined Palestine is a state, and The Hague can thus investigate and cover the 2014 Gaza war, settlement policy, IDF actions on Gaza border.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatouh Bensouda indicated in 2019 that a criminal investigation, if approved, would focus on the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict (Operation Protective Edge), on Israeli settlement policy and on the Israeli response to protests at the Gaza border.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Friday’s ruling: “Today the ICC proved once again that it is a political body and not a judicial institution,” he said. “The ICC ignores the real war crimes and instead pursues the State of Israel, a state with a strong democratic government that sanctifies the rule of law, and is not a member of the ICC.
“In this decision,” Netanyahu added, “the ICC violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace. We will continue to protect our citizens and soldiers in every way from legal persecution.”
In contrast, lawyer Bersouda maintained, “There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by the Israel Defense Forces, for allegedly launching disproportionate attacks and “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health… and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions,” In 2019, she also found a “reasonable basis to believe that members of Hamas and Palestinian armed groups committed… war crimes” by targeting civilians and torturing individuals. Bensouda said Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank could also constitute a war crime, as could its response to weekly protests along Gaza’s border with Israel held since March 2018.
Are there politics wrapped up in these statements? You bet.
While these blogs have often questioned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements as self-serving, he appears to be on target on this issue. Israeli’s have endured uncountable terrorists’ attacks and assaults in their streets and houses. Palestinian terrorists have scaled the wall in the dark and killed innocent children and adults. The Israeli response will always be to hit attackers back with everything they have.
Have there been excesses on both sides? Who can doubt that fact? Can this be unraveled by the International Criminal Court? Only by their taking sides in a politically oriented dispute.
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My latest books:
I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II
Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!
by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)
You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.
82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!
You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.
by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)