Wed 22 May 2024 2:17 pm - Jerusalem Time

Washington faces a dilemma due to the prosecutor’s memorandum to the ICC

A request by ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to bring major charges against Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Defense Minister, Yoav Galant, could constitute an important step in international jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity, although it ignores other Israelis. In the position of decision-makers who could be accused of similar charges, such as the Israeli Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevy, who led and continues to lead these actions that amount to war crimes, or the President of Israel, Yitzhak Herzog, who said that “there are no civilians in Gaza,” giving the green light (according to (its powers) for war crimes in Gaza, according to experts.

The accusations against Netanyahu and Gallant also angered the Joe Biden administration in Washington, for two reasons, according to experts. First, the United States’ permanent rejection of the concept of the International Criminal Court (fearing the possible prosecution of its military and civilian officials); The second reason lies in exposing the major weaknesses and contradictions in the president’s policies, even though the Attorney General’s memorandum appears remarkably balanced, fact-based, convincing and neutral.

Experts say that the memorandum laid clear foundations for bringing international criminal charges against the Israeli leaders (Netanyahu and Gatlant) who are accused of using starvation of civilians as a political issue, and therefore as a weapon of war, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian resistance movement “Hamas” (Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Al-Sinwar and Muhammad Al-Deif) who are accused of organizing and supervising operations. Killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians.

According to the memorandum, all five are clearly guilty of these transgressions, and the main point of the prosecutor, Karim Khan, is that it makes no sense at all morally or legally to hold one party accountable for its lawless brutality, but not the other. Through this symmetry, or balance, Khan revealed “the heart of the tragedy,” according to experts.

On October 7, 2017, fighters of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, launched an attack on what is known as the Gaza envelope area, south of Israel, “which included the pursuit, killing, and kidnapping of innocent civilians in kibbutzim and at a nearby music festival, and that the principle of armed struggle against military occupation does not exempt rebel groups from the laws of war.”

Israel responded with a comprehensive war on the Gaza Strip, according to what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised on October 7 with “great revenge,” defining the war’s goals as: 1) eradicating the Hamas movement; 2) Killing Hamas leaders; Liberating the hostages held by Hamas, and 4) “regime change” in Gaza, which are goals that have not been achieved so far, except for the terrible revenge on the defenseless and helpless people of Gaza in this war, which led to the death of more than 35 people. One thousand Palestinians, most of them women and children, and more than 80 thousand wounded, most of them also women and children, while nearly two million people were displaced.

Several entities – including South Africa in an application submitted to the International Court of Justice on 11 January 2024 (which has jurisdiction over states, while the ICC has jurisdiction over individuals) – have accused Israel of committing genocide because of this. The horrific number of deaths.

However, the United States insists that the killing and destruction that Israel is doing in Gaza does not rise to the levels of genocide. “Accusations of genocide will take years to decide, and they will also depend on an allegation that is difficult to prove, namely, intent to commit Genocide.

According to Attorney General Khan’s memorandum, the most serious accusation against Israeli leaders (so far) is “the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine, and other necessities for the Palestinian population,” who were expelled by the Israeli occupation authorities from one part of the Gaza Strip to another part of the devastated Strip. , willingly or unwillingly, as its army swept through the area, frequently shooting anything that moved, including escaping Israeli hostages, journalists, and humanitarian relief workers (as happened with workers in the World Central Kitchen). Israel's de facto blockade of Gaza has suffocated Gaza, creating a man-made famine in the north, and a dire situation everywhere.

Perhaps the biggest problem facing US President Biden is the truth of the accusations, and the clarity of this truth with conclusive and conclusive evidence, while he insists on rejecting this matter, especially since he implicitly made the same point about Israel’s use of food as a weapon of war during the State of the Union speech that he delivered on March 7, His declared anger is nothing but a reflection of traditional US policies, which are difficult to defend.

An insider, who requested that his name not be published, told the Jerusalem correspondent: “The problem for Biden is not only that he knows the horrific impact of the Israeli siege, and that his government has also documented this, which prompted it to build a sea port to try to deliver aid to the Palestinians despite the intransigence.” "Israel". The source adds: “It is almost certain that the killing of aid workers in the World Central Kitchen by the Israelis (on April 1, 2024) was another manifestation of Israel’s use of famine as a weapon of war, and a clear message not to interfere in that.”

The Biden administration also recognizes that every time Israel negotiates indirectly with Hamas, the issue of humanitarian aid — including food and medicine — is on the table. The truth is that humanitarian supplies to Palestinian civilians constitute a counterpart to the issue of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, in the negotiations between Israel and Hamas, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Experts believe that "Biden cannot acknowledge this without breaking the long-standing American tradition of opposing any charges from the International Criminal Court against allies, taking a huge political risk, and completely betraying his emotional pro-Israel instincts."

It is noteworthy that in the context of the dialogue between correspondent and the official spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Matthew Miller, on Monday, May 20, it became clear that the American administration does not greatly object to condemning the leaders of the Hamas movement as “criminal terrorists,” according to Miller, but rather strongly objects. On what she considered putting “Israel and Hamas in one basket.”

It is noteworthy that the proposed action of the International Criminal Court is based on the fact that all of this occurred in the “State of Palestine” or came out of it, as a “non-member observer state” in the United Nations General Assembly. Israel, like the United States, is not a party to the ICC, but the “State of Palestine” is, which could give the court jurisdiction over everything that happened in and out of Gaza.

The Biden administration also faces other complications because it based its strategy and vision for foreign policy in the Middle East on ensuring Israel’s acceptance of the Palestinians’ right to a state, which is not recognized by any of the Israeli political forces that have participated in successive Israeli governments since the Oslo Accords until now.


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Washington faces a dilemma due to the prosecutor’s memorandum to the ICC