Commentary on Political Economy

Monday 20 May 2024

 

Wickedly perverse move should sink the ICC

The decision by the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Karim Khan, to request arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and its minister of defence, Yoav Gallant, is a wickedly perverse and deeply troubling move.

Khan has also requested arrest warrants for Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, commander-in-chief of Hamas’s military wing, and Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political bureau. He has accused the Hamas leaders of murder, extermination, torture and rape which are crimes against humanity, and of taking Israelis hostage, which are war crimes.

Khan presents this as a display of even-handedness. This itself is morally bankrupt. There can be no equivalence between a genocidal attempt at extermination and a country’s defence against it. The accusations against the Hamas trio are based on factual evidence. Those against the Israelis are wholly without foundation.

Khan accuses them of starving Gaza’s civilians, wilfully killing them, intentionally attacking those queuing for food and obstructing delivery of humanitarian aid. He says Israel has “intentionally and systematically” deprived Gaza’s civilians of objects indispensable to human survival through “the imposition of a total siege over Gaza that involved completely closing the three border crossing points … for extended periods”.

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But the very opposite is the case. There has been no “total siege”. Since the beginning of the war, according to Israeli statistics, 18,255 trucks have crossed from Israel into Gaza carrying 399,580 tons of food, 59,660 tons of shelter equipment and 23,110 tons of medical supplies.

It is Hamas that has been obstructing the delivery of aid and stealing civilian supplies for its own use and to sell on the black market at inflated prices, from which it is estimated to have made some $500 million, according to an analyst at the Washington Institute and supported by Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency. When Israel has opened fire around the aid trucks it has been against Hamas terrorists trying to steal their cargo.

Even more astoundingly Khan makes no mention of Egypt, which also has a border with Gaza. Yet Egypt has sealed that border and refuses to let any aid supplies through at all.

The claim that Israel’s defence forces have been wilfully killing Gaza’s civilians is also the opposite of the truth. The civilian death figures produced by the Hamas-run health ministry and recycled by the UN have been grossly inflated. After experts pointed out they were statistically impossible, the health ministry slashed them — admitting that some had been taken from the media.

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Two weeks ago, the UN quietly followed suit and halved its own totals. Since the Israelis estimate they have killed about 14,000 terrorists, they have killed approximately one civilian for every combatant. This is a vastly lower proportion of civilians killed than has ever been achieved by any other country in warfare. The Israelis have taken more care not to kill civilians than any other country. Yet astoundingly, they are being accused of crimes against humanity.

The people who really have exposed Gaza’s civilians to danger are the Hamas terrorists, who have used them as human shields and cannon fodder by siting missiles and the infrastructure of warfare among apartment blocks, schools and hospitals. These are real war crimes against Gaza’s civilians, which Khan doesn’t even mention.

Khan has relied for his evidence on claims made by partisan “human rights” groups who oppose Israel’s existence and have been defaming it with lies that have inflamed protests and attacks on Jews across the world. He says that the evidence against Israel has been supplied by “multiple witnesses interviewed by my office, including local and international medical doctors”. But many of those doctors have been exposed as Hamas operatives or sympathisers.

Khan has also driven a coach and horses through the fundamental precept of the ICC. This holds that the court may only exercise jurisdiction where national legal systems fail to do so, and it must give a state time to investigate any claims that have been made against it. Yet Khan has requested his arrest warrants without even asking Israel to investigate his charges. And since the war in Gaza is still under way, that is clearly not yet possible.

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Defensively, Khan says he has consulted an “impartial” panel. Yet it is stuffed with radical “human rights” lawyers who are no friends of Israel. This “impartial” panel is actually a hanging jury from the Salem school of law: verdict first, evidence nowhere.

The reputation of the court, which was all but wrecked by Khan’s two incompetent and deeply partisan predecessors, has been hanging by a thread. Far from restoring it, Khan’s move will now bury it in the eyes of all fair-minded and decent people. It will also hammer a nail into the coffin of human rights law, the legal instrument of the international “humanitarian” establishment of the UN and anti-Israel non-governmental organisations for which this kind of “lawfare” has become a principal weapon aimed at Israel’s destruction.

Doubtless under enormous pressure from both the UN and his former chums in Britain’s radical barrister sets, Khan’s preposterous move is part of the agenda for Israel’s destruction through a pincer movement of genocidal terror, brainwashed street insurrection and “human rights” lawfare. The beneficiary will be Hamas; the victims will be Israel, the rule of law and civilisation itself.

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