Is PA’s UNESCO Victory the First Step in Prosecuting Israeli War Crimes?

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.”

  • skulz fontaine

    Do it Palestine! Drag the Israeli pariah to the ICC and demand justice.

  • Loraine

    Yes!

  • Rex in Aust

    How dare those Palestinians get the rights of normal humans!!!! I see US and Israel are stopping funding to UNESCO now. Not that I see much of this story in the news. Just the odd line on the "crawl" at the bottom of the TV screen.

  • john237

    ISRAEL is enjoying her platinum period for the last few years. In this period, Israel is having everything what her past and present leaders might have dreamed; including diplomatic superiority not only in the USA but almost all the Western Nations and key Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, military superiority having more than latest and high-tech weapons what America has, Economical superiority with many companies having upper hands in all around the globe. Over and above, Israeli public is broadly radicalized with right wing nationalist political agendas. On top they have Bibi Netanyahu as the P.M. who has no fear, shame or worries about 4 million human lives who have been under occupation at the gun point for the last 60 years. Under this circumstances, if Israel would like to have Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, it can have it easily. I do not understand why Israel is after Iran rather than Kuwait or Saudi Arabia? In short time Israel would easily officially rule over the entire West. But after enjoying this platinum period, Israel should be prepared for the second worst period of their destiny too. The Western world is tremendously suffering from their economical down turn and they need some one to be a scape goat for their misery and Israel will be the easiest target once again by the entire world.

  • Orville H. Larson

    As those WikiLeaks revelations prove, the last thing Israel wants is international judicial recourse for the Palestinians. Now that the latter are members of UNESCO–no thanks to Israel's puppet, the U.S. Government–I hope the shit hits the fan, as it were.

    The U.S. Government, to its colossal disgrace, subordinates itself to Israel. When future historians are puzzling over the ruins of the United States, that's something they can mull over. . . .

  • Pingback: Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | November 4, 2011 « Antiwar.com Blog()

  • Canadian Bacon

    HAHAHAHA!

    Democracy sure sucks, doesn't it, Israel!!!