One of the most frustrating stories to follow over the years must be the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.
Heavy smoke billows from a section of Gaza City in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli military strike Tuesday. | AFP-JIJI
The latest outrage committed by the Palestinians is their request to join the International Court of Justice and thereby pledge TO ABIDE BY INTERNATIONAL LAW!
As Robert Fisk in the Independent of 4 January writes sarcastically but rightfully: Heavens preserve us from such a thought, but these chappies – after all their past calls for Israel’s extinction, after all the suicide bombings and intifadas – are asking to join one of the most prestigious judicial bodies on earth. For years, the Palestinians have demanded justice. They went to the international court in The Hague to have Israel’s apartheid wall dismantled – they even won, and Israel didn’t give a hoot. Any sane Palestinian, you might think, would long ago have turned his or her back on such peaceful initiatives.
The real story behind this story is the reaction mainly of the US State Department.
Its spokesman told us that his government is “deeply troubled” by the Palestinian application. It is “entirely counterproductive”, he informed the world. It does “nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state” – though one might have thought that membership of so august a judicial body would have done a lot to persuade the world that Palestinians were ready to shoulder all the burdens of statehood.
The United States, of course – and this fact oddly did not feature in the flurry of news reports on “Palestine’s” request to join – has itself refused to join the International Criminal Court. And with good reason; because, like the Israelis – although this is not quite how the whole fandango was explained to us – Washington is also worried that its soldiers and government officials will be arraigned for war crimes. Think waterboarding, Abu Ghraib, the report on CIA torture…
No wonder Jeffrey Rathke, the windbag who speaks for the State Department, says that the Palestinian request “badly damages the atmosphere” with Israel, “undermines trust” and “creates doubts about their (Palestinian) commitment to a negotiated peace”. And remember, Abbas only made his request after America had vetoed – and it has used its veto more than 40 times on Israel’s behalf to reject Palestine’s self-determination since 1975 – a UN Security Council resolution to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land by 2017.
The obvious question is who the real (war) criminals are. The ones who want to join the International Court of Justice and thereby be held accountable for their actions or the ones like the US and Israel who steadfastly refused to join and instead constantly block any attempt to enforce international law ?
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