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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ICC’

One More Try for Peace as Envoy Martin Indyk Arrives in Israel

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk raced to Jerusalem Wednesday for emergency meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators over the crashing final status talks.

In Algeria for strategic security talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also urged Israeli and PA leaders to make one more effort to reach an agreement, warning that the Obama administration could not force peace if partners were unwilling.

“You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises,” he said. “The leaders have to lead and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.” Kerry quoted the old adage of being able to ‘lead a horse to water but not being able to make it drink’ — an analogy that every American child is raised with.

“Now is the time to drink,” Kerry said. “The leaders need to know that.”

Last week Israel balked over the release of a final group of 30 PA terrorist incarcerated in Israeli prisons. The group included 20 Israeli Arab citizens – a controversial issue that had split the coalition government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from the start of the talks in July 2013.

The Israeli Arab prisoners acted in their terrorism under the auspices of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Both are led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, so it is impossible for him to close his eyes to their incarceration. More so, it is impossible for Israeli government ministers to ignore the fact that Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, is in some ways as much a terrorist as those who are imprisoned. Abbas has claimed “only a few hundred thousand” Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. During the years of the Bush Administration he refused to dismantle terrorist organizations as required by the Roadmap peace plan – which collapsed — and refuses to stop media incitement in the PA against Israel as well.

The prisoners were to be freed in stages linked to progress in the talks and the participation of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who has not been active at the negotiating table since November 2013. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that no visible progress appears to have been made on the core issues since that time, with Israel making all the security concessions and endangering its own population.

Last Friday, instead of freeing the terrorists, Israel proposed to extend the talks and offered to free another 400 prisoners, again in stages linked as before to progress in the negotiations.

The talks are not scheduled to end until April 29.

Instead, on Monday infuriated PA leaders signed applications for membership in 15 United Nations agencies and organizations. The move is an outrageous violation of its commitment to both Israel and the United States at the outset of the talks.

Last night (Wednesday), Fatah faction leader Mohamed Shtayyeh also threatened in a statement in Arabic to Sky News to submit an application to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague – a second violation.

The PA committed at the start of negotiations with Israel in July 2013 not to seek membership in international organizations – including the International Criminal Court at The Hague – until the conclusion of talks on April 29.

But Shtayyeh announced that the PA is also no longer willing to “negotiate” on any issue other than borders and demanded Israel present a map of new borders based on the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 lines.” This is a third violation.

The “1967 lines” term is used with bitterness by Arabs and many in the international community to refer to the areas occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, whose borders were dissolved after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War.

If Israel is unable to reach agreement with the PA on borders, the PA threatened to submit applications for membership in 63 international organizations. The strategy is being used as a means of gaining de facto legitimacy as a as an independent sovereign nation.

Moreover, Shtayyeh blamed Israel for the action, saying it came in response to the government decision not to release the final group of terrorist prisoners last week.

PA envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour added in a statement to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency – a PA mouthpiece — that the entity is “eligible for membership in up to 550 international organizations.”

Hecklers Flee Israeli Speaker at U of Florida

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Anat Berko is a small-framed woman known for her ubiquitous yards long braid.  She is also one of the world’s leading counter terrorism experts who has sat in prison cells next to some of the most dangerous serial killers and attempted homicide bombers who ever lived.

A handful of anti-Israel University of Florida students chose the wrong speaker to interrupt.

Berko was at the Gainesville campus on Thursday, Oct. 10, as the guest of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

According to CAMERA fellow Avia Gridi, with approximately 7,000 Jewish students, the University of Florida has the single largest number of Jewish students at any university in the United States.

This is Gridi’s first year as a CAMERA fellow and the “More Hummus, Less Hamas” evening with Berko was her first event.

The Smarter Bomb is Berko’s second book about homicide bombers.  In it she tells the story of the women and children who are induced to attempt to become homicide bombers.  Berko knows the experience of those women well.  She spent decades inside Israeli prisons interviewing the women who failed to martyr themselves either because of a technical malfunction or because the authorities were able to disrupt the plans.

Berko gained the trust of dozens of such women in Israeli cells. Her particular interest in writing The Smarter Bomb was to uncover the motivation of the women and children to attempt to commmit such acts, especially the difference in motivations between women and men.

Having as your laboratory the prison cells of people who attempted to kill – they say “martyr” – themselves in order to murder Israeli men, women and children is not the choice of someone who is easily frightened.  But in addition to being a social scientist, Berko is also a Lieutenant Colonel (Res) in the Israel Defense Forces. That is also not a career choice for people who are easily intimidated. And Berko isn’t.

So eight minutes after Berko began speaking at Pugh Hall last Thursday night, when four students, who had arrived late, suddenly stood up, removed their outer shirts and began chanting accusations, Berko was having none of it.

“Hamas is not the Problem, the Israeli Occupation Is!” and “The IDF kills women and children!” were the slogans drawn on the students shirts, and chanted by the students.

“What is wrong with you?” Berko sharply addressed the four. “Sit down and listen to what I have to say and wait for the question and answer portion of this event to raise your issues!”

But the four students who later identified themselves as members of the seemingly ubiquitous, but certainly infamous, Students for Justice in Palestine were not interested in listening to Berko.  They came to make their own voices heard.

“She seemed disgusted by the display,” Gridi told The Jewish Press.

And then Berko really let them have it.

“You think the IDF kills children? You should go to Syria, where everyone knows they are murdering thousands of children with gas and other cruel weapons!  Go to Syria where there are actually thousands of real refugees. They need you to demonstrate in Syria, go!” Berko lectured the SJP hecklers.

And with that, the hecklers left the room and Berko continued her lecture. The people who came to hear about what could possibly motivate women and children (that’s the “smart bomb” Berko means) to want to kill themselves were able to hear from her first hand observations and watch video clips of many who attempted to be smart bombs.

And the four hecklers? They left the room with their tails between their legs, unable to grab the spotlight for their inane chants, unable to disrupt a carefully prepared evening of education which Gridi and CAMERA’s co-sponsors for the event, the ICC, MEMRI and the Gainesville Hillel put on.

“I’m used to sitting in jail cells with serial killers, did they think I would be intimidated by some American college students?” Berko said in a phone interview on Wednesday evening with The Jewish Press.

When asked about the Berko event, Gridi was both pleased and a bit nonplussed.

“The event went really well, although none of it went as expected.”

Settlement Rally a Gigantic Success

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

The gigantic (as it was billed) pro-Settlement rally in Binyanei Ha’uma (International Convention Center in Jerusalem) on Wednesday night, was just that, gigantic.

Thousands of people filled up the Ussishkin hall and the Agam lounge. The majority were (hilltop) youths and other young settlers who are helping build and grow Eretz Yisrael. Interspersed among them were adults.

Whatever the goal of the rally was supposed to be, it turned into a large show of support for the young audience and their self-sacrifice in building Eretz Yisrael, as well as a promise to defend the Settlements against those threats, local and foreign, that want to see the Jewish enterprise destroyed.

The beginning was disappointing. Most of the senior politicians who said they were coming backed out at the last minute, including representatives from Likud-Beiteinu and HaBayit HaYehudi.

The Israeli media, sitting together in the auditorium, used that as an opportunity to publicly mock the rally, the Jewish Right and the Right-wing politicians.

Rightfully, and embarrassingly so.

The only politician who initially showed up was the energetic MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who had the crowd loudly cheering at every word she said.

But the lack of politicians didn’t discourage the crowd. Hundreds spontaneously climbed up onto the stage to dance and loudly sing along with the incredible band. While they stood with silent respect for Rav Lior, Rav Melamed, and Rav Levinger (Sr.), as they and other notable rabbis got up to speak.

After much of the Israeli media left, some of the missing politicians began to drift in. First among them was Ayelet Shaked, Rabbi Ben-Dahan, and Orit Struck.

During the rally, this reporter was holding a conversation with one of Naftali Bennett’s staff members who told me Bennett was otherwise occupied with local Jerusalem campaigning and wasn’t going to be coming.

I told him to make sure Bennett got over here, if he actually wants to meet his constituency and show them he is their represented leader; otherwise his very noted absence was making him irrelevant.

Minister Naftali Bennett at Gigantic Settler Rally

Minister Naftali Bennett at Gigantic Settler Rally

Finally Bennett listened to this staff member and left his beer-tasting party in Machane Yehuda for the rally.

He gave a great speech, but the reception was mixed. Bennett received both loud cheers and loud boos when he walked into the hall. Bennett was also verbally attacked outside the hall by some angry young men as he left, for what they perceive as his lack of support and protection for the Yeshivas.

But overall, the rally to promote new settlements and support our young settlers and new settlements was energetic, exciting, and a gigantic success.

We’ll See You in Court

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

For months now, the Palestinian Authority has threatened to file for membership at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, which would enable it to press war crimes charges against Israeli soldiers and senior officials. This was one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ primary objectives when he submitted the PA’s candidacy at the U.N. for nonmember observer state status, because one year earlier, devoid of this status, the ICC denied the PA’s membership request.

Abbas uses this threat like the Sword of Damocles over Israel’s head. If the peace process fails to move forward, and if the Israeli government builds in E1 (the area connecting Jerusalem with its Ma’ale Adumim neighborhood), he will use this weapon.

The ICC is eager to pursue cases that don’t involve the slaughter and all-out warfare against tribes in Africa. The debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially when Israel is on the defendant’s stand, tops the wish list for the war crimes tribunal, which portends to be the ultimate authority on human rights. Out of the hundreds of claims submitted to the ICC, it will choose to tackle those it has desired the most: the prosecution of Israeli soldiers.

Such prosecutions could have fateful consequences. The ICC has the authority to issue arrest warrants against those it convicts, and it is the duty of member countries to make these arrests. IDF soldiers, therefore, will be prevented from setting foot in more than 100 member countries, including Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.

This would be a decisive blow not only to Israeli backpackers recently discharged from the army, but to all fighting units, which new recruits will seek to avoid due to the risk involved. What’s the point, they’ll say, in sacrificing not only three years to the IDF, but also the freedom to move around in the world afterward.

Of his two options – starting a third intifada or turning to the ICC – Abbas will choose the most preferable, the one that doesn’t come at the cost of blood, that grants him credit with European leaders for choosing the nonviolent path, and that affords him the greatest odds of winning. He’ll turn to The Hague.

The Hague’s authority, however is a two-way street. From the moment the PA becomes a member, it opens itself to similar war crimes claims. Its leaders are liable to find themselves responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide.

Sending terrorists to commit suicide bombings; launching tens of thousands of missiles and rockets against civilian communities; inciting and directing its own population and security forces to kill innocent civilians, as these efforts have become increasingly systematic to the point of being a long-standing official policy against another civilian population – these are all crimes against humanity and genocide. There is already such a precedent, after a New York federal court in 2007 ruled that intifada-related crimes were crimes against humanity, and that Israeli victims of terror had the right to pursue legal action against those who aid and abet terrorism.

The only way to protect IDF soldiers from international prosecution is to deter the PA from turning to The Hague, and this is by threatening to submit thousands of counter-suits against it on behalf of terror victims.

Subsequently, the Israeli-based civil rights organization Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) has in recent days commenced with a pre-emptive attack. We are collecting testimonies from any Israeli who was a victim of terrorism and are asking that these testimonies be posted to our Facebook page as evidence that can be used in counter-suits against leaders of the Palestinian Authority for their roles in the perpetration of war crimes.

If Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh want to go to The Hague – we will be there to meet them.

Obama Boycotting the Knesset and Ariel University

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama has decided not to address the Knesset during his visit to Israel next week. Senior U.S. officials said that, after long deliberations and discussions, the White House decided that the president will address students from universities in Israel at the ICC (Binyaney Ha’uma) in Jerusalem.

That initial snub did not go unnoticed. The Prime Minister’s Office and a number of Knesset members passed messages to the White House saying they would be much happier if the speech took place in the Knesset. But senior U.S. officials have insisted that Obama decided to deliver his messages directly to the Israeli public, especially the younger generation, not just to politicians in the Knesset.

Has the president been following the recent changes in the Knesset? Many of the new elected MKs wouldn’t know a politician if they ran one over on their mountain bikes. But, obviously, Obama does not think much of national institutions in third world countries, or he wouldn’t be spending so much treasure overturning them.

On Tuesday it turned out that the White House has little respect for Israeli academic institutions as well. According to Reshet Bet, almost all of Israel’s universities received invitations to hear the president’s speech in the big hall in Jerusalem – with the noted exception of Ariel University.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Yoni Chetboun revealed this latest snub to Reshet Bet Wednesday morning, saying this was unacceptable, as Ariel is an officially accredited university, and its students—Jews and Arabs—are part of the Israeli public.

Ariel has over 600 Arab students, as well as the largest number Ethiopian university students in all of Israel.

The White House has refused to comment on Obama’s refusal to endow with his message of hope and peace Israelis who go to school on the wrong side of the “green line.”

MK Chetboun called on Ariel students to come greet President Obama outside the national auditorium in Jerusalem, if only to prove to him that they, too, exist.

According to recent news stories, the U.S. embassy (in Tel Aviv) is in charge of sending out the invitations to some 2000 Israelis, as well as 300 members of the press. It is possible, then, that the boycott against Ariel was not necessarily conceived in Washington, but right here, on Hayarkon Street on the shore of the Mediterranean.

Perhaps the White House will clarify this later today.

Summer of Endless Opportunities

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Summer break brings countless ways to become a more skilled advocate for Israel. Many organizations, including The David Project, StandWithUs, Hasbara Fellowships, the Israel on Campus Coalition and others offer students opportunities to learn how to strengthen their skills on campus. Offerings include digital media and social media awareness, trips to Israel and seminars in North America.

Hasbara Fellowships brings students to Israel on a three-week trip that provides them with the background, knowledge and tools to become campus advocates. Since 2001, 2,000 students from 250 campuses have participated in the program. The first groups of summer 2012 are leaving later this month, and applications are still being accepted.

Participants in the Hasbara trips become Hasbara Fellows who take an active role in planning Israel-related activity on campus. Current fellow Sam Strasser, from the University of Western Ontario, is featured in a Hasbara video saying, “Seeing firsthand the Jewish connection to the land was a really big motivating factor when I went back [to campus] because I knew that what I was standing up for was right.”

For those who want to stay closer to home, opportunities are available across the country.

The David Project offers a variety of workshops and training seminars over the summer including Israel On Demand and their Israel Video Advocacy Seminar. Each focuses on a different set of skills for campus advocates. Past Israel On Demand seminars have incorporated tips on using comedy as a means for heightened communication and listening skills as well as hearing from major journalist and policy makers.

AEPi, the Israel on Campus Coalition, the David Project, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jewish National Fund and Hasbara Fellowships are joining forces to offer Israel Amplified a unique seminar for students involved in Greek life. Between August 6 and 8, Greek students from across the country will gather in Arizona to network and learn how to build support for Israel on their campuses.

ICC’s MZ-Grinspoon Internship program kicks off with a training seminar in August that prepares students to take leadership roles on their campuses. Past interns have organized programs, mounted information campaigns, published campus Israel magazines and more.

While many summer programs already are full, there always are opportunities for students who want to learn more and do more on campus. Be sure to check with your campus Hillel, as well as CAMERA, the World Zionist Organization, and other groups to see what they have to offer.

Many more opportunities are available on the ICC website, including travel/study to Israel, programs, conferences, and jobs & internships are available to students and professionals.

Do you know of other summer training and travel opportunities? Are you participating in a workshop or skills-building session? Send us a note at comments@israelcampusbeat.org and we’ll check it out and spread the word!

Palestinians Lose Attempt to Sue Israelis for ‘War Crimes’ On a Technicality – International Court Prosecutors Leave Opening for Future Suits

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

In a key defeat for NGO “Lawfare” in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday decided that it does not have jurisdiction to begin an investigation over cases related to the 2008-09 Gaza War because “Palestine” is not a state.

In January 2009, the Palestinian Authority (PA) filed a letter with the Court, purporting to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction in order to bring war crimes cases against Israeli officials, notes Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which was involved in the case from the outset.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is one of the four organs of the Court and is headed by Luis Moreno – Ocampo, the Prosecutor, who took office on 16 June 2003.

“Throughout this process, the ICC – created to punish the worst perpetrators of war crimes and mass murder – was exploited by several EU- and European-government funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which intensively lobbied the OTP as part of their campaign to attack the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” says Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor. “The NGOs Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l´Homme (FIDH), and Adalah campaigned at the ICC in support of the Palestinian Authority’s political goals. This clearly was contradictory to the spirit and substance of peace negotiations.”

On behalf of NGO Monitor, Herzberg submitted a legal brief on the case. The brief argued that the ICC’s jurisdiction is defined by the 1998 Rome Statute, which makes clear that only states can accept the Court’s jurisdiction. The Statute was adopted after years of careful diplomatic negotiations, and allowing the PA to fall under the Court’s jurisdiction would have essentially amounted to a re-writing of the Statute. In addition, the brief argued that, contrary to claims by NGO proponents of the PA initiative, the ICC was not established as a court of universal jurisdiction, and NGO attempts to transform it into such would be legally improper. The OTP used similar arguments to support its decision.

“The fact that the case even proceeded this far was clear legal overreaching, but it shows the strength of NGOs that lead the de-legitimization and demonization campaigns against Israel,” adds Herzberg.

“The OTP’s decision today is a strong rebuke to these NGOs, their political agenda, and their campaign to isolate Israel from the international community,” notes Herzberg. “International arenas are routinely hijacked for political purposes, but today’s decision was markedly different.”

This victory over Israel’s Palestinian foes may not be long lasting, and depends strictly on the UN General Assembly’s decision in the near future to recognize or avoid the recognition of a State of Palestine.

Sealing the International Court’s 8 point decision are two crucial notes, numbered 7 & 8:

7. The Office has been informed that Palestine has been recognised as a State in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and by certain international organisations, including United Nation bodies. However, the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non-member State”. The Office understands that on 23 September 2011, Palestine submitted an application for admission to the United Nations as a Member State in accordance with article 4(2) of the United Nations Charter, but the Security Council has not yet made a recommendation in this regard. While this process has no direct link with the declaration lodged by Palestine, it informs the current legal status of Palestine for the interpretation and application of article 12.

8. The Office could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue relevant to an assessment of article 12 or should the Security Council, in accordance with article 13(b), make a referral providing jurisdiction.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/palestinians-lose-attempt-to-sue-israelis-for-war-crimes-on-a-technicality-international-court-prosecutors-leave-opening-for-future-suits/2012/04/03/

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