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The ICC’s war crimes

If permitted to proceed unpunished for its actions on the global stage, the court will gain in power and stature.

The logo of the International Criminal Court at the entrance in front of the building in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: oliverdelahaye/Shuttertstock.
The logo of the International Criminal Court at the entrance in front of the building in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: oliverdelahaye/Shuttertstock.
Caroline B. Glick
Caroline B. Glick is the senior contributing editor of Jewish News Syndicate and host of the “Caroline Glick Show” on JNS. She is also the diplomatic commentator for Israel’s Channel 14, as well as a columnist for Newsweek. Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington and a lecturer at Israel’s College of Statesmanship.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s initial response to International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s announcement that he intends to issue international arrest warrants against Israel’s leaders was brief and to the point: “The international arrest warrants won’t deter me. This is a political, biased decision. It is a disgrace and a shame. We will continue on until victory.”

Netanyahu’s response was correct but too narrow. True, Khan’s accusation that Israel under Netanyahu and Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is deliberately starving Gazans and intentionally targeting civilians for death is a blood libel. Far from starving or deliberately killing civilians, Israel is doing more to protect the lives of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip than any military has done to protect the lives of civilians in war zones in human history.

The ICC’s goal in propagating this slander against the Jewish state is to criminalize the State of Israel and pave the way for its annihilation by denying it the right to self-defense.

While it’s true that Khan’s move is a shameful, nakedly political disgrace, it is also illegal. The ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel. Israel is not a signatory of the Rome Treaty, which founded the ICC, and set out its powers and jurisdiction. To get around that fact, the ICC illegally accepted “Palestine” as a signatory to the treaty.

The political entity that presents itself as the “Government of Palestine” is the Palestinian Authority. The P.A. was established in 1994 by force of the bilateral agreements the Palestine Liberation Organization signed with Israel during the 1990s. Those agreements—popularly known as the “Oslo agreements”—bar the P.A. from seeking membership as a sovereign state in international bodies, including the ICC.

The ICC’s lack of jurisdiction is only part of the legal problem with its move against Israel. In his statement on Monday, Khan drew a false moral equivalence between the crimes against humanity and acts of genocide Hamas committed on Oct. 7—meaning, the terror group’s invasion of Israel and slaughter, rape, torture and abduction of thousands of civilians and soldiers on the one hand, and the lawful acts of war that Israel has conducted against the Hamas terrorist regime and its terror army in response to that invasion and commission of atrocities.

Hamas is bound by its charter to commit genocide against the Jewish people worldwide and to annihilate the Jewish state. Khan’s allegations against Netanyahu and Gallant—and against the State of Israel more broadly—are predicated on blood libels originating from the Hamas regime in Gaza. In so acting, the ICC is providing material support for Hamas. That is, it is providing material support for a genocidal terror group engaged in a genocidal war against the Jewish people.

Unlike the libelous accusations Khan raised against Israel’s elected leaders, Khan’s provision of material support for Hamas’s war of genocide is an actual war crime.

Both houses of Congress are now advancing bills to sanction the ICC and its personnel for their illegal prosecution of Israel, a U.S. ally. It is essential that these bills be fast-tracked through the legislative process.

But two more actions should be taken.

A threat to the free world

First, the United States should indict Hamas’s terror masters, including senior leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohamed Deif, Ismail Haniyeh, and other top Hamas terrorists for the murder, rape, kidnapping and torture of U.S. citizens on and since Oct. 7. Not only should these war criminals not get a free pass for their actions, they should be held criminally liable by real courts, as opposed to the ICC’s kangaroo court, which is only advancing charges against them to criminalize a liberal democracy carrying out a war for its national survival.

Second, Khan and his associates should be charged with extortion of U.S. elected officials. Following the news late last month that Khan intended to pursue false charges against Israel’s leaders, several American lawmakers announced their intention to advance legislation sanctioning ICC officials. In response to those announcements, on May 3, the ICC issued a statement that Khan posted on his X account, threatening action against anyone acting against them.

The statement claimed that “threats” of action against the ICC and its personnel “may … constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Art.70 of the Rome Statute.”

Although Israel is a small state and the only Jewish one, now isolated in the international community, prejudicial actions taken against it pose a threat to the free world as a whole.

As Netanyahu explained, the ICC’s move against Israel won’t daunt him as he leads the country in this difficult war for national survival. But actions taken against Israel by the ICC and similarly corrupt international bodies form noxious precedents that can be used in the future against free nations fighting genocidal terror armies and regimes. If permitted to proceed unpunished for its crimes, the ICC will gain in power and stature. And just as it is using its power against the lone Jewish state today, so it will use it against the United States tomorrow.

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