Back in September I wrote about a State Department cable released by WikiLeaks in which a meeting with Israeli officials revealed that one of the primary reasons the Israeli government wants to block Palestinian statehood is to keep the occupied territories outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Israeli Defense Forces Head of the International Law Department Col. Liron Libman “noted that the ICC was the most dangerous issue for Israel,” reads the cable. And Military Advocate General for the IDF, Avichai Mandelblit, in talking with US Ambassador James Cunningham seemed to deflect allegations of war crimes, not by denying they took place, but by dismissing them via a legal technicality. They put forth “several legal opinions had been delivered to [Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno] Ocampo noting that the ICC had no legal jurisdiction due to the PA’s lack of statehood…” My article and the corresponding cable are worth reading in full.
Well, according to former British Ambassador and Murder in Samarkand author Craig Murray, Palestine’s overwhelming UNESCO victory – derided almost exclusively by the US and Israel – is the first step in the PA’s ability to pursue Israel for war crimes at the ICC.
So the UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.
…There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, under Article 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.
Interesting. And this comes just in time, according to Amnesty International:
On Tuesday, Israel did not even try to hide the fact that their plans to accelerate the construction of 2,000 housing units in East Jerusalem – an area considered as ‘occupied’ by the international community thus making the construction illegal – was in response to and part of a series of punishments to be meted out against the Palestinian Authority for their successful pursuit for full membership to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and pursuit for full recognitionfor the State of Palestine by the United Nations body itself.
What is significant as well, but I’m afraid being over-looked, is that the announcement also came just two days after the well-respected organization, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), submitted a major and precedent-setting report to three of the UN’s Special Rapporteurs claiming that Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem violate international law and may constitute a war crime and asking for an investigation into these practices.
Read that ICAHD report here. It discusses “forcing the migration process on the basis of ethnicity – which violates international law, and is possibly a war crime.”