By Eldad Beck
The organizations that have sued Israel and the United States in the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes against the Palestinians and in Afghanistan, respectively, have ties to each other, as well as to terrorist organizations, new research from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reveals.
According to the JCPA, prominent activists in the campaign to delegitimize Israel, who are also connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—which is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union—play a key role in the cooperation between all these entities.
The research also reveals that ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has close ties to one of these organizations.
The groups that sued the United States in the ICC in 2017 include the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights, whose headquarters is in New York. In 2019, a panel of ICC judges rejected a request by Bensouda to launch an investigation against the United States based on the suits. The organizations behind the lawsuits increased pressure on the ICC, and a month ago, the court gave Bensouda the green light to launch an investigation against the United States, which prompted the United States to step up its sanctions against ICC functionaries involved in that investigation.
The organizations that have tried to bring suits against Israel in the ICC include Al Haq, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and Al-Dameer. The JCPA research states that these groups have links to the PFLP, and that “they are far from being human rights groups, as they falsely represent themselves.”
Al-Haq, the PCHR and Al-Mezan are members of the International Federation for Human Rights, of which Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin is the general secretary. In the past, Jabarin held a senior position in the PFLP and was sentenced to prison terms in Israel a number of times. Israel’s Supreme Court defined Jabarin as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” because he disguises his terrorist activity as human rights work.
Raji Surani, director general of the PCHR, formerly served as deputy director of the International Federation for Human Rights. Nada Kiswanson, a Swedish lawyer of Palestinian descent, and Katherine Gallagher, who represented the plaintiffs in the ICC suit against the United States, helped the Palestinians reach out to the ICC against Israel. Kiswanson is the former director of Al-Haq office in The Hague, and in that role filed complaints against Israel with the ICC.
Gallagher, who currently represents the victims in the case against Israel, was a member of the Palestinian delegation that filed the Palestinian reports and position paper.
Meanwhile, the Center for Constitutional Rights also supported the Palestinian request for the ICC to investigate Israel, and hosted a meeting with Jabarin and Surani in 2016.
The JCPA research was compiled by IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Dan Diker, who noted that Bensouda’s neutrality was in question given her close ties to the International Federation for Human Rights in recent years. In 2015, the researchers say, Bensouda visited the organization’s Paris office, and in 2019 she was the keynote speaker at a conference marking the group’s 40th annual conference.
”The close ties between the entities behind the suits against the U.S. and Israel demonstrates the political aspect of the entire process,” Kuperwasser told Israel Hayom.
”It appears that Prosecutor Bensouda is not only not preventing this political move, but also promoting it. Radical left-wing, anti-Israel and anti-American entities are working to hurt Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and the U.S. because of its backing for Israel, among other things. When the American administration says that it will take steps against anyone involved in ICC investigations against the U.S., this applies not only to ICC functionaries and lawyers, but also to the people behind the investigation. Steps against them would certainly be justified,” Kuperwasser said.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.