Sun 26 May 2024 8:51 pm - Jerusalem Time

Washington Post: Biden administration remained silent regarding ICJ decision

The Washington Post published a report prepared by Karen de Jong in which she said that the United States remained silent about the decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, at a time when international condemnation of Israel’s attack on Rafah increased.

 She added that the United States, which prides itself on being a leader in human rights and respect for international law, maintained a clear silence on Friday when the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to stop its attack on Rafah, and that it was obligated to do so “immediately,” based on the Genocide Charter.

She said that the absence of a statement from the Biden administration clearly contradicts its position on the “court” decision, in March, which called on Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine, as the administration said that the court plays a vital role in the political settlement, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly welcomed the decision and called on Russia to comply. The administration rejected comparison between the two wars, as it said that Gaza began with an attack carried out by a terrorist group against Israel, while Ukraine was a war launched by a member state of the United Nations against another country, without justification for it.

The National Security Council ordered its spokespersons to respond to any question related to this with one sentence: “We were clear and firm in our position on Rafah.”

However, the American position regarding Israel’s invasion of Rafah, and that it was a “limited” incursion to eliminate the remaining Hamas fighters, while at the same time avoiding harm to civilians, and freeing about 100 dead or alive prisoners held by Hamas, contradicts the conclusion of the International Court of Justice. , that Rafah “is a different situation,” and since the last warning to Israel, at the beginning of this year, that its actions in Gaza may lead to genocide.

 The court, which is affiliated with the United Nations, has no mechanism to enforce its orders, as its decisions need to be voted on in the UN Security Council, where the United States has the right to use the veto.

 Some legal experts described the court's order as not highly binding, because according to the court's rules, the order remains "preliminary" until South Africa's case is heard before it, which may take about a year. Even without any actual impact, the latest decision provides further evidence of the isolation of Israel, and necessarily of the United States, which is considered the most important military and diplomatic supporter of Israel.

“We have to acknowledge that this is turning in the negative direction, and that the United States is becoming isolated because people are coming closer to supporting and abetting illegal action,” says Harold Hongji Kuo, a law professor at Yale University and a former State Department official.

He added: “Remember that 13 countries are the majority” in the decision of the International Court of Justice, which includes 15 judges, including the majority of European Union, Middle East and African countries. The White House cannot ignore the political message sent by this decision.

This threatens to put America on the wrong side of international law, Coe says.

The two dissonant voices were Julia Sibutende, the Ugandan judge, and Aharon Barak, the former president of the Supreme Court of Israel.

 Barak said, according to a court summary, that the order was “qualified,” but that it did not prevent Israel from continuing its attack due to the absence of “evidence of intent,” among other things, to commit genocide. He noted that the court’s judges acknowledged that “Hamas” was the one who initiated the October 7 attack. Against this background, the court cannot order one party to stop, while giving the other party the freedom to continue. However, most of the world does not view the matter in this way, and even before the International Court of Justice order, the European Union urged Israel to stop its attack on Rafah, as the bloc’s foreign policy official warned, on May 15, that attacking Rafah “will put great pressure on relations.” between the European Union and Israel.” The decision came at the end of the week at a time when criticism of Israel reached its highest levels. It began with the International Criminal Prosecutor directing charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister, and asking the court to issue arrest warrants against them and three Hamas leaders.

Although the United States and Israel do not recognize the court, the issuance of memorandums means that its 124 members will abide by any memorandum, and they will be forced to arrest Netanyahu and Gallant if they enter the territory of any of them.

Then Ireland, Norway and Spain announced their joining of 140 countries that recognized Palestine as a state. While the International Court of Justice called on Israel to open the way for humanitarian aid to arrive, international relief organizations described the situation in Rafah as a result of the military operation. “As he feared, the tragedy is indescribable,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths. He said that the operation “displaced more than 800,000 people, cut off the flow of aid to southern Gaza, and paralyzed the humanitarian operation, which has reached a breaking point.” Griffiths said: “Although Israel ignored the calls of the international community to spare Rafah, the global demands to stop the operation have become louder and cannot be ignored,” and “This is a moment of clarity, and it is a moment that calls for respecting the rules of war to which everyone is committed.”

While the US administration continued to describe the Rafah operation as “limited,” it expressed increasing concern. David Satterfield, the administration’s envoy for humanitarian affairs, said: “I am concerned about two things about the Rafah operation.” “The first is the repercussions” on the displaced. Numbering 1.5 million people, they were crowded in and around Rafah, and “where will they go” when Israel turns its operation towards the city, and “how will they receive humanitarian support, housing, water, food, and medical support.” The second source of concern is “the nature of the operation, whether limited or unlimited,” which will lead to large-scale evacuations: “All of this will conflict with the logistical and material capacity to transport aid.” Unfortunately, all of these fears that we conveyed to the Israeli government, at the highest levels, have been realized.”

The newspaper said that the closure of the Rafah crossing led to the cessation of humanitarian aid, which prompted President Joe Biden to contact Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who promised to help transport aid from Egypt to the Kerem Shalom crossing. In return, he received a promise from the American President to work to reopen the Rafah crossing.

In the absence of a halt, and the floating dock built by the United States near the Gaza coast, nothing will change as long as Israel continues its operations against Rafah, which began to the east of it, and advances at a steady pace towards the west. Scott Anderson, deputy director of UNRWA, said: “My feeling is that they are moving further west in the evacuation axes, and there are new evacuation orders coming,” and “I believe that the fighting will take place west of the city itself.”

In light of this situation, the Biden administration has returned to attempts to reach a ceasefire, as US Intelligence Director William Burns will make a new attempt to negotiate with the Egyptian and Qatari mediators. But the administration never changed its position on the war, or on its support for Israel.

In this context, Patrick Leahy, after whom the Leahy Law was named, wrote an article in the Washington Post in which he said: “I created the Leahy Law, and it must apply to Israel.” It is a law that prohibits the State Department from transferring weapons to a foreign country if it is proven that there is “reliable evidence” that American weapons were used in blatant human rights violations: murder, rape, torture, forced disappearance, or any other blatant deprivation of the rights to life, liberty, and personal security. Aid can resume if it is proven that countries have taken steps to correct all of this. The Leahy Act, he says, is not a panacea, but it is an effective tool to remind foreign and American officials that the American taxpayer does not want to fund human rights violations. Israel, which America supplied with weapons, in quantity and not per unit, has not yet been subject to an embargo, and in light of Anthony Blinken’s decision to ban a group in the Israeli army accused of violations in the West Bank, there is a need for the ministry to submit to Israel a list of ineligible units, and to continue updating it.

Source: Sama news


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Washington Post: Biden administration remained silent regarding ICJ decision