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.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International commends the United States and Australia for voting today against a Palestinian resolution submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Monday that would have imposed an arbitrary deadline and terms for settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue. By bringing its list of demands to the United Nations and attempting to force Israel to acquiesce through a third party, the Palestinian Authority (PA) sought to exploit the world body to advance its political agenda.
B’nai B’rith has vocally objected to any PA attempt to deliver an ultimatum for Israeli compliance with its objectives. This latest circumvention of negotiations with Israel is no different. In typical PA fashion, the resolution blatantly failed to ensure Israel’s security and identity as a Jewish state.
We applaud the United States and Australia for their commitment to push back against these efforts in defense of a genuine and constructive path to peace. The two votes against, combined with five abstentions from Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and the United Kingdom denied the Palestinians the minimum of nine votes needed to adopt the resolution.
The countries that voted in favor of the one-sided resolution—in contravention of longtime international insistence upon direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations—were Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia.
Peace can only be achieved through meaningful, bilateral negotiations. The PA’s continued internationalization of the conflict with Israel has only exacerbated the situation. Those countries that genuinely seek a peaceful resolution of this conflict must impress upon the Palestinians to cease exporting and enflaming the conflict by joining new multinational bodies, beginning with the International Criminal Court, in an effort to deploy them as political weapons against Israel.
B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to Swiss Ambassador to the U.S. Martin Dahinden expressing serious concern over the upcoming meeting of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Switzerland summoned the parties last week in response to a Palestinian Authority request, and the meeting is expected to attack Israel for its actions in Gaza and the West Bank.
In the letter, B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said, “As depositor of the Conventions, Switzerland is obliged to execute this function responsibly and impartially. However, over the course of over half a century, the state parties to the Conventions have exclusively been convened to focus on Israel, a small democracy struggling against violent extremists sworn to its very destruction and to the indiscriminate targeting of its citizens.”
Click here to read the full letter.