Encouraged by the UN General Assembly’s resolution to accept the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a “Non-member observer state,” the PA turned to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting it launch a criminal investigation against Israel for committing “war crimes.” Last December, after five years of a “preliminary examination,” the ICC Chief Prosecutor declared her intention to open a criminal investigation into the “situation in Palestine.” She intends to focus on the IDF’s actions during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the use of live fire on the Gaza border during the recent Palestinian rioting, which Hamas refers to as “The March of Return,” and the issue of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. The prosecutor requested the court to affirm that the PA is indeed a “state,” and that the territory of “the State of Palestine” compromises all pre-1967 borders, including the Holy City of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
An ICC criminal investigation followed by criminal charges against Israelis in the ICC will have a devastating effect on the state of Israel. Soldiers, men, and women whose only “crime” is serving their country and fighting terror will be at risk anywhere in the world. Israel will become a “leprous” state with its economy, security ties, international relations, and more, compromised.
It will be the ultimate achievement in BDS’ war to delegitimize Israel-a shining victory for our terrorist enemies who will have succeeded in making the righteous suffer and the wicked thrive.
Furthermore, the ICC merely recognizing the PA as a “state,” with its territory including all of the land within the pre-1967 borders and biblical Jewish Holy sites, will have dramatic consequences in the international arena and turn Jews living in these areas into criminals.
Unfortunately, it is naïve and dangerous to rely on the ICC to per well-established international law rule the PA is not a “state,” or hope that they will investigate in a fair and unbiased manner giving Israelis their day in court.
The State of Israel is not a member of the ICC and refrains from formally taking part in proceedings in order not to grant the court legitimacy or undermine Israel’s legal position that the court lacks jurisdiction. As a non-governmental organization, however, Shurat HaDin plays an essential role in countering both the court’s and the Palestinians’ actions.
Shurat HaDin was the first Jewish organization to tackle the danger inherent in the ICC’s bias against Israel. We began our campaign against it in 2015. Our strategy was simple. We would present the ICC with compelling evidence against the PA and Hamas officials’ involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Either the truth would triumph, and the PA’s move backfire against them, or the ICC’s bias would be exposed.
Over the past five years, Shurat HaDin has repeatedly submitted detailed communications to the ICC with clear evidence of war crimes committed by PA officials who, unlike Israel, are subject to the court’s jurisdiction under international law.
Shurat HaDin also revealed the ICC prosecutor’s bias in investigating Israeli “settlements” while ignoring notorious cases of occupation and transfer of population. Representing Cyprian communities, Shurat HaDin approached the ICC Prosecutor on the issue of Turkey’s occupation in Northern Cyprus and the transfer of the Turkish population to these occupied lands.
Recently we confronted the prosecutor with detailed information on the PA’s barbaric ‘pay-to-slay’ scheme designed to incentivize killing Jews and Israelis by providing financial incentives based on the size, duration, and severity of the attack. The PA makes payments to all Palestinian terrorists and their families, including Hamas members, with the most substantial sums paid to terrorists who commit the most egregious violations of international law and human rights. This scheme is the equivalent of a mafia contract on the head of every Israeli and Jew.