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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ICC’

Israel Ambassador to UN Demands Action Against Hamas

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, has demanded the world body take action against Hamas for the terror group’s clear violations against international humanitarian law.

“Despite the fact that the UN has recognized the war crimes committed by Hamas during the fighting, nothing has been done about the matter,” he said in a letter sent to the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The letter included a detailed report of terrorist artillery and missile fire that emanated from civilian population centers in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

“I expect the Security Council to condemn with a clear voice the tactics of Hamas,” he wrote, according to the Hebrew-language NRG news site. “The Council cannot be silent in light of the use by Hamas of Gaza civilians as human shields.”

The Palestinian Authority unity government led by Ramallah-based PLO Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, which includes Hamas, has demanded the UN Security Council set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all territory won in the 1967 Six Day War, including parts of its capital restored to the nation during that defensive conflict. Failing that, Abbas has vowed to charge Israel with war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Anti-Israel UN Investigator Prof. William Schabas ‘Can’t Say’ If Hamas is Terrorist Entity

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

The man chosen to head the United Nations Human Rights Council’s latest probe into the war in Gaza won’t state clearly whether Hamas is a terror group. Moreoever, he says “some believe Israel ‘gets off easy’ at the UN Security Council.”

International Law Professor William Schabas, appointed to head the UNHRC probe into Operation Protective Edge, also claimed in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro Tuesday that past comments he has made on the record, accusing Israel’s government leaders of war crimes were “exaggerated.”

Schabas was questioned about his alleged bias against Israel, which has led the foreign ministry to advise the prime minister not to cooperate with the investigation.

The man selected to investigate Israel’s counter terror operation against Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem this summer said a year ago that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his choice of a leader to send to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro began the interview with a polite, if not cordial tone.

“Good evening Professor Schabas. Shall we say congratulations?”

“Uh… perhaps,” Schabas answered carefully.

Kushmaro then went right for the jugular, asking the UN investigator about his suggestion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his “favorite” world leader to be brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague to face war crimes charges.

“Not President Assad of Syria, Not Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal – you said, ‘Netanyahu.’ Can you explain why?’ the interviewer asked pointedly.

Schabas looked uncomfortable.

“We were having a discussion about the International Criminal Court,” he said, “and the fact that the International Criminal Court had focused all of its attention on African countries. I had referred to a statement by Archbishop Tutu, where he had said, ‘Tony Blair should be brought before the International Criminal Court to show that it can deal with Western countries as well as with countries from the south, and particularly from Africa.

“And so I said, well, uh, my favorite would be Netanyahu. I was, of course, echoing what was in the Goldstone Report, which is that the International Criminal Court should deal with the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, concluding the possibility that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed during Operation Cast Lead.

“But as you know the International Criminal Court never did address those matters. So that was the context of my comment.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid quickly pointed out in subsequent comments that the Goldstone Report was compiled during the administration of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not Netanyahu.

Schabas has also said he believes that former President Shimon Peres should stand trial before the Court as well.

The interviewer asked him whether he, as a professor of international law, would advise his own client to cooperate with “such an investigation” given what he had just heard.

“I think this is a great exaggeration of some of the statements. I expressed opinions about political leaders in the past. Is there a human being in Israel who’s never expressed political opinions about leaders in Israel? Once someone who sits in a commission or as a judge has to do is to put these things behind them, and start fresh, and this is of course what I intend to do.”

Kushmaro: Do you plan to investigate Hamas crimes as well? Are you really able to investigate a terror organization who threatens its own people?

Schabas: “I cannot tell you what the commission is going to do in terms of interpreting its mandate because I’m only one member and I haven’t had a meeting with the other commissioners. We will have to agree on the interpretation…

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-boycotting-the-knesset-and-ariel-university/2013/03/13/

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