OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

The Palestinians are in for a Hague hangover

Ultimately, they’ll find themselves alone against Israel and must choose whether to continue expecting someone else to do their job for them.

In the aftermath of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (pictured here addressing the U.N. General Assembly in September 2014) signing the Rome Statute to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ICC has launched an inquiry requested by the Palestinians into alleged Israeli "war crimes." Credit: U.N. Photo/Amanda Voisard.
In the aftermath of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (pictured here addressing the U.N. General Assembly in September 2014) signing the Rome Statute to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ICC has launched an inquiry requested by the Palestinians into alleged Israeli "war crimes." Credit: U.N. Photo/Amanda Voisard.
Eyal Zisser
Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

Despite the rejoicing in Ramallah over the International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes, in actuality, the decision and those preceding it have neither advanced nor will advance the Palestinians even an inch closer to realizing their ambitions. Nor will they improve the lives of the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and Gaza by even one iota.

As a reminder, as early as 2004, the ICC ruled that the security barrier Israel built to protect its citizens against a deadly wave of terror was illegal and asked that it be torn down. Then, too, the Palestinians cheered—but Israel ignored the decision and continued building the barrier.

Past failures notwithstanding, the Palestinians continue to pin their hopes on international bodies where they have an automatic majority courtesy of countries for which justice, human rights, liberty and democracy are tenuous concepts at best.

This Palestinian tactic is established and familiar. After failing in their efforts to break Israel’s will with violence and terror, they now hope that cultural and economic boycotts, alongside decisions by U.N. organizations, will force Israel to its knees. Beyond all this, the Palestinians also hope that when the moment of truth arrives, the U.S. administration will turn on Israel, as the Obama administration did in its last days in the White House.

However, the Palestinians are destined for disappointment. Perhaps ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda represents the kind of anti-Israel sentiment espoused by the European left—but she does not represent the spirit of the times. Not in Africa, from where she hails, nor in the Middle East. The spirit of the times, in fact, produced the Abraham Accords, whereby several leading Arab countries have declared that peace is the Arabs’ only path forward, not the “armed struggle” the Palestinians continue to follow blindly.

Last week, when the Biden administration announced its foreign policy agenda, it also said it has no intention of sinking in the Middle East quicksand and that aside from its commitment to Israel’s security it doesn’t much care about the region’s problems.

Ultimately, the Palestinians will find themselves alone against Israel, and they must choose whether to continue expecting someone else to do their job for them.

Moreover, the Palestinians could very well regret rejecting the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century.” Although it was far from meeting all their demands, it was firmly rooted in the realities on the ground and roundly supported in the Arab world, and Israel accepted its conditions. If the Palestinians had accepted this plan, they would already be in the midst of the process of demarcating the border and solidifying sovereignty, even if only in some of the territory they seek.

Now, it’s reasonable to assume that aside from missing Trump, they will be left with nothing.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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