Small victories

In most circumstances Israel finds itself in the docks of assorted international forums – like the discredited UN Human Rights Council – which invariably function as kangaroo courts.

ICC (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
In most circumstances Israel finds itself in the docks of assorted international forums – like the discredited UN Human Rights Council – which invariably function as kangaroo courts. Against that bleak background, even minor and partial victories are to be savored.
Such was the case Tuesday when the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, rejected – albeit solely on technical grounds – a Palestinian Authority request to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.
Moreno-Ocampo concluded that the principle of universal jurisdiction isn’t applicable to the ICC. Hence its intervention can only be sought by the UN Security Council or a recognized state. Since the PA, for all its efforts, lacks state status, its request couldn’t be acceded to.
Thereby Israel escaped yet another round of mock judicial proceedings (like those of the UNHRC’s which culminated in the Goldstone Report) where the principles of law and of elementary impartiality are perverted and where the verdict is prepared well in advance of the sham trial.
Moreno-Ocampo’s ruling was, needless to say, anathema to so-called human rights groups which thrive on Israel-bashing. Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty International’s “International Justice Campaign,” bitterly decried the decision, labeling it “dangerous” and averring that it “opens the ICC to accusations of political bias and is inconsistent with the independence of the ICC.”
Marczynski was hardly alone. The very fact that in an exceedingly rare instance Israel was given a break of sorts was broadly repudiated as the epitome of favoritism towards the Jewish state. Israel is otherwise consistently victimized by unrelenting prejudice which Amnesty and its like never protest and, in fact, drum up with relish. These inherently anti-Israel NGOs clearly couldn’t abide the PA’s failure to secure sovereign status via the back door.
This in and of itself affords us a sense of qualified comfort – better this than another spectacle of the sort staged perennially by the UNHRC. That said, we shouldn’t let this go to our collective head. This is far from unequivocal success.
No one sided with our position. All the Hague prosecutor noted was that legal standing –the right to initiate a law suit at the ICC – isn’t automatic for anyone or any entity.
In theory, this state of affairs is eminently reversible in a given convergence of conditions which might facilitate Security Council recognition of a fully-fledged Palestinian state. In other words, the PA merely suffered a setback. It didn’t lose the war of demonization and delegitimization which it vigorously wages against Israel.
The very fact that it pursues such an aggressive agenda against Israel in every available or seemingly available international arena is what should raise the eyebrows of all fair-minded opinion-molders the world over. Despite the pose of aggrieved seekers of peace, the Palestinians in reality carry out an antagonistic and intimidating propaganda offensive geared to make Israel an out-and-out pariah among the nations, much like the erstwhile apartheid South Africa.
In a fairer world this would be judged as giving the lie to PA lip service to goodwill. Those who truly desire coexistence don’t attempt to tarnish and vilify their presumed peace-partner. But this is precisely what the PA did by going to the Hague in the first place, as it did by going to the UNHRC in Geneva or the UN Security Council and General Assembly in New York. Although this is warfare by diplomatic means, it still undeniably constitutes warfare.
However, ours is hardly a fair world and hence we ought not hold our breath and expect even fellow democracies to sometimes acknowledge the justice of our case. Indeed, EU members Austria and Belgium – along with two non-EU democracies, Switzerland and Norway – voted for the UNHRC’s probe of “the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.”
In the face of such deplorable hypocrisy, we frankly cannot hope for unconditional victory in international forums. Therefore, it’s gratifying to occasionally at least win by points. It’s nothing to scoff at in our existence, so long as we don’t lose proportions.