Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the International Criminal Court’s decision to open a war-crimes investigation against Israel by calling the decision “undiluted anti-Semitism and the height of hypocrisy.” He made the same claim after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber on Feb. 5 invented a “State of Palestine” and set its “borders” based on the 1949 armistice lines.
Netanyahu is of course entirely correct. The ICC was meant to be an independent, permanent court that would serve as a forum of last resort for punishing the worst of war criminals. In reality, when it comes to Israel, the ICC, similar to the United Nations, has allowed itself to be hijacked and manipulated by Ramallah and Gaza, to be used as a weapon to persecute the Jews.
Suddenly, land to which the international community has recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people” and that was set aside for “reconstituting [the Jewish] national home” has now become, according to the ICC, land in which Jews not only have no history, but in which their mere presence constitutes nothing less than a war crime.
For the past six years, since “Palestine” joined the ICC, the Israeli legal and diplomatic establishments have tried to engage, directly and indirectly, with the court to avert its anti-Semitic decisions. These efforts have failed.
In this war, words, reason, facts and legal arguments, whatever their merit, have limited value. Quiet diplomacy has failed. Now is the time for real action.
Considering the new ICC aggression, here are four real actions Israel must adopt.
Expel U.N. personnel
The body most responsible for perpetuating the fallacy that a “State of Palestine” exists is the United Nations. The U.N. representatives in Israel spend all their waking hours supporting the Palestinian claims to statehood. They run working groups comprising Israel-hating NGOs—many of which have close ties to internationally designated terror groups— that invent alternate realities and churn out report after report accusing Israel of a plethora of offenses.
Since the U.N. and its representatives are responsible for the vile anti-Semitism reflected by the ICC prosecutor, Israel’s first step must be to expel all U.N. personnel from Israel. The intention to adopt this course of action should have been declared months ago and should have been implemented the moment the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decided to invent “Palestine.”
Stop funding the Palestinian Authority
The decision of the Palestinian Authority to join the ICC was a fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords. Every year, pursuant to the breached Oslo Accords, Israel gives the P.A. billions of shekels. These funds are over 50 percent of the P.A.’s entire revenue. The P.A. uses the money to fund its ICC drive and as such, in practice, Israel is funding the P.A.’s actions at the ICC. The PA’s other use for the funds provided by Israel is to fund its pugnacious “Pay for Slay” terror reward policy.
This ludicrous situation cannot continue. If the “State of Palestine” exists, independent of and in breach of the Oslo Accords, then Israel must stop giving the P.A. the means to promote its anti-Semitism in the ICC. Until the fictitious “State of Palestine” pulls out of the ICC, Israel should stop transferring any funds or providing any services and privileges to the P.A. and its representatives.
End the confusion
For over five decades, Israel has failed to make a clear claim to any part of Judea and Samaria, merely arguing that they are “disputed areas.” This policy allowed the ICC prosecutor to make the following argument: Since Israel has never fully claimed Judea and Samaria, but the Palestinians have clearly claimed the “West Bank,” the area must belong to the Palestinians.
Since Israel’s lack of a clear claim is being used against it politically, it is time for this ambiguous Israeli policy to end. Israel must make clear to the world that it has the right to all of this land and that it is our claim that has all the legal backing. Israel must stake its legal and historically justified claim unequivocally, leaving no room for any misconception, so that no one can argue that Israel’s lack of such a claim proves that the land is Palestinian.
Sanction NGOs promoting anti-Semitism
The P.A.’s efforts to demonize Israel are supported by foreign-funded Israeli NGOs such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. These organizations and the others like them should be banned and prevented from conducting any activities in Israel.
The dangers to Israel and Israelis posed by the ICC are substantial. For years, Israel has tried the soft, legal-diplomatic approach. As this approach has clearly failed, Israel must now adopt a much more comprehensive and aggressive approach. The gloves must come off.
IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position, he served as director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.