(Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement that she accepts the Palestinian canard that “war crimes have been or are being committed” by Israel, and that she will investigate those, is profoundly improper and dangerous.
Clearly, Bensouda cannot tell the difference between war crimes and Palestinian propaganda. It is the Palestinians who have for decades subjected Israel to the high crimes of unrelenting, indiscriminate terrorism – thus necessitating Israeli defensive efforts – and an open campaign of national extermination. By contrast, despite singularly difficult circumstances, Israel, the Middle East’s only actual democracy, has carried out its pursuit of security with a degree of restraint and care rarely if ever seen in the history of military conflict.
Israel has appealed and sacrificed for peace with the Palestinians, as it had successfully with other Arab neighbors, but been met only with more Palestinian violence against its civilians, rejection of mutual compromise and attempts to circumvent direct negotiations by instead recruiting international political and even juridical bodies to pressure and harm the Jewish state.
Beyond the fact that Israel has its own renowned and fully functioning legal system to ensure the country’s compliance with key national and international obligations, the ICC does not have jurisdiction over baseless charges leveled by the Palestinians since the latter do not as of yet, and never have, represented an existing state. Since 1947, the Palestinians consistently rejected opportunities to establish their own state alongside a Jewish state.
The ICC gravely risks politicizing itself, and losing fundamental credibility, by exceeding its mandate and accepting false, politically motivated claims. Such a step is deeply harmful to peacemaking, to vital counterterrorism efforts anywhere and to the cause of all those suffering from genuine atrocity around the world.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is once again misappropriating an important global forum to advance its own agenda rather than to advance the cause of peace. In a move that further demonstrates its true intentions, which is to use global venues to strong-arm Israel (rather than negotiate), the PA has accused Israel of “war crimes.”
The PA provided documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) detailing what it claims are Israel’s “war crimes,” relating to Israel’s self-defense in Gaza in 2014, along with its settlement construction projects in other parts of Israel.
This incessant effort to internationalize the conflict with Israel shows the PA’s true hand. The PA consistently has tried to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state by outlandishly characterizing Israel’s attempts to defend itself from terrorist attacks as war crimes.
Six months ago, when PA President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application to the ICC, B’nai B’rith wrote:
“In order to preserve the essential principle of conflict resolution through negotiation, and the fundamental right and duty of responsible states to combat terrorism, Palestinian exporting of political grievances to The Hague must be firmly rejected internationally.”
While the delivery of these documents makes for good show, true efforts by the Palestinians to work for peace are nonexistent.
The delivery of these documents should be viewed by the world community as yet another cynical move to divert attention from the complete lack of effort by the PA to work toward peace.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it will open a preliminary investigation into war crimes committed during the summer conflict in the Gaza Strip, hostilities that included, and were precipitated by, massive violence targeting civilians across Israel.
Though it is unclear whether prosecutors at The Hague will formally issue charges, B’nai B’rith condemns this unjustified probe prompted by the Palestinians as the latest page in their playbook that will undoubtedly continue to single handedly undercuts prospects for peace.
“We’ve seen in recent weeks that the Palestinian Authority seems incapable of making necessarily hard decisions to negotiate an agreement and would much prefer to have the United Nations Security Council and the ICC do its bidding,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
“It also speaks volumes that Mahmoud Abbas would to go to the ICC and spur this investigation while his regime is tied to Hamas terrorists who started the summer conflict by kidnapping and murdering three innocent Israeli teenagers and firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli communities.”
The ICC announcement comes on the heels of the U.N. Security Council's decision to reject a Palestinian ultimatum that would have attempted to force the unconditional fulfillment of the Palestinians' political demands on Israel.
What the Palestinians are attempting to do now perverts the original objective of a permanent international tribunal that would bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.
At the time of its creation many were concerned that, given the United Nation’s failed record in these matters, it would one day be used by the Palestinians to unilaterally advance its agenda against Israel.
“The methods that the Palestinian Authority has chosen in an attempt to create a state outside of direct negotiations with Israel by resorting to international pressure can only exacerbate the conflict, not resolve it,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
“If the PA is really serious about this process, it should focus its efforts on ending incitement against Israel and making the compromises necessary to finally move toward an agreement.”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B'nai B'rith International strongly condemns Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas's reported unilateral application to some 20 international bodies, including the membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Abbas, who has engaged in a governing partnership with Hamas—the radical Islamist terrorist movement that rejects Israel's existence and has repeatedly prompted regional bloodshed—has threatened to escalate a campaign to malign and harm Israel internationally by joining the court and targeting Israelis with war crimes charges there.
The step follows the United Nations Security Council's decision Tuesday to reject a Palestinian ultimatum for forcing the unconditional fulfillment by Israel of Palestinians' political demands.
Abbas’ path of confrontation and unilateralism gravely violates his responsibility to end the conflict through meaningful direct negotiations and compromise with Israel. His path also denies Israel basic guarantees of its security and recognition as a Jewish state.
The PA’s machinations—including the submission of a polarizing, unacceptable security council motion that had been poised to fail—have made patently clear its unpreparedness to make the hard decisions necessary to finally achieve peace and coexistence.
In order to preserve the essential principle of conflict resolution through negotiation, and the fundamental right and duty of responsible states to combat terrorism, Palestinian exporting of political grievances to The Hague must be firmly rejected internationally.
Otherwise, Middle Eastern tensions will only worsen, and Palestinians' own atrocities, in stark contrast with the singular restraint of the region's only pluralistic democracy, will surely come into sharper focus.
It is time for the PA to stop hijacking key international bodies and to begin contributing, as Israel long has, to a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.