Suddenly the alarm sounded and the Jewish citizens of Israel woke up from a sweet dream. Trump’s servility along with false promises from Netanyahu behind deals with the Sunni emirates convinced them that the Palestinian problem was eternally shelved. The only concern of the moment is the date on which they can schedule the unpostponable visit to Dubai and/or Abu Dhabi.
Two months ago, this blog warned that, within the framework of Biden’s new era as president of the USA, “no reference was made to an aspect that, if materialized, could become the factor that breaks with all the schemes that are evaluated as a possible future in the region. This is the next decision of the International Criminal Court of The Hague (ICC) which has to respond to the request of its General Attorney, Fatou Bensouda, to prosecute political leaders and officers of the Israeli army for the campaign of civil colonization in West Bank and other violations of international rules framed in what is defined in international conventions as a war crime” (“Biden, don’t forget Fatou Bensouda”, DK, 12-10-20).
Yesterday, the judges of the CPI authorized the prosecutor to initiate the investigation, that is, the call for the statement of officials and officers of the Israeli army, possible accused of war crimes. The order also includes the investigation for possible war crimes by the Hamas group.
The sweet dream slowly turns into a disturbing nightmare. Given that this theme was always evaluated as something hypothetical and very distant, consequently its possible consequences were not taken into account. Under this configuration, it must keep in mind certain aspects of the process to become so that the Jewish people have presents the possible situations that in the near future they will probably have to face.
Indictments: The prosecutor intends to investigate two conducts adjudicated to Israel and defined as war crimes according to norms that govern military conflicts.
In the first place, transgressions in the framework of combats during the warlike confrontation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014 and in the repression of demonstrations on the border between Gaza and Israel in subsequent years. In a normal situation, it could be assumed that the chances of materializing an indictment for rule violations in battles against Israeli officers are very low. This is because, if there were any, most of them were investigated, and in some cases those responsible were punished by the Israeli legal system of recognized international value. Sadly, the recent conduct of Netanyahu and his associates of grossly delegitimizing the Israeli legal system simply by personally accusing him of corruption is likely to be the reason why Israeli officials should be effectively indicted.
Second, the CPI intends to investigate the possibility of indicting Israel for committing war crimes as a consequence of the extensive plan of civil colonization in territories conquered in 1967, including East Jerusalem. Unlike the first, in this second accusation Israel finds itself without the minimum protection of the Israeli judicial system. International conventions prohibit the occupying force of territories conquered at war from modifying their demographic composition.
Who are the accused: It must be borne in mind that it is not the State of Israel that will sit on the accused dock. These are personal accusations of those who the CPI considers responsible for the crimes. In this case, ministers, senior army officers and functionaries who participated directly in the decision-making processes and their implementation. Once summoned, if the accused does not appear, the CPI has the right to order his arrest in any country on the planet. In that order, Israel is already organizing itself and a secret list of 200-300 government, security and army officials has been prepared to prevent future trips abroad (Haaretz, 5-2-2021).
The international arena: Obeying the usual way of response, the Israeli immediately response labeled the ICC’s decision as intentionally anti-Semitic. Much more important is to evaluate possible responses in international settings. Both Europe, China, Russia and the vast majority of countries in the world coincide in considering the Jewish civil colonization of territories conquered in 1967 as a transgression of international norms. Special interest is focused on the attitude of the Sunni emirates who recently signed the Abrahamic Accords and which Netanyahu defines as a new era, and, of course, the position of the Biden administration.
With regard to the Arab countries that maintain diplomatic relationships with Israel, or those that consider normalization in the near future, presumably they will turn their back on Israel in this prosecution. While they broke the previous promise to normalize relations with Israel before the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they hardly decide to abandon their Palestinian brothers forever.
As announced by its ambassador to the UN, the new administration in Washington opposes any Israeli plan in the West Bank that includes annexation, construction of settlements and/or destruction of Palestinian homes (“Biden administration lays out its policies on Israel-Palestine at the UN”, Barak Ravid, Axios, January 26, 2021).
Now Biden faces a serious dilemma. Complying with the Hague Court decision will represent a historic rift between Israel and the US with unpredictable consequences, including, most likely, a massive weakening of the all-important American Jewish support for the Democratic Party. Without a doubt, for Israel it will represent the end of la dolce vita with the status quo that until today has allowed it to permanently expand the colonies.
The opposite alternative exposes Biden as a carbon copy of Trump. The blind and unconditional defense of Israel spares no effort in consecrating servility and, in this way, breaking with its recent promise to return to the historic democratic trajectory of its party and country in support of the legal order and basic institutions, both national and international.
Without a doubt, we are in the presence of a shock in international diplomacy, the aftermath of which will affect several orders, including the upcoming elections in Israel.
Herzlya – Israel 6-2-2021