The Saga at the Hague: Will the ICC Prosecute Israel over Mavi Marmara?


ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: Wikipedia.

On May 31 2010, nine Turkish activists were killed on the Mavi Marmara flotilla as it attempted to breach an Israeli and Egyptian naval blockade of the Palestinian territory.

The activists, many from a pro-Palestinian Turkish group called the IHH, said they wanted to deliver aid to the Palestinian enclave by breaking Israel’s naval blockade, which Israel imposed after Hamas, a terror organization, came to power in Gaza.

Israeli authorities later found the vessel wasn’t carrying any humanitarian aid, and there were never any humanitarian supplies or equipment aboard the Mavi Marmara, indicating that the true aim of the group was to smuggle weapons to Hamas. That didn’t stop the IHH from filing a complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the wake of the clash.

Seven months ago, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda closed the file on the case, “concluding that the case would not be of “sufficient gravity” to justify further action by the ICC.”

Two weeks ago, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC, for the first time in its history, ordered the ICC Prosecutor to pursue an investigation she has decided to close. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor was wrong to close the preliminary investigation into war crimes charges against Israel for crimes allegedly committed during the flotilla incident of 2010.

The ruling is shocking for a number of reasons, enumerated by Bar Ilan Legal Professor Avi Bell. Most remarkable is this:

“…most shockingly, it holds that crimes have sufficient gravity to interest the court, even if they have very few actual victims, as long as they are widely covered by the media, and are subject to a lot of political activity at the UN.

Needless to say, none of these holdings are accompanied by any citation to precedent. That’s because they are without any precedent.”

He continues,

“The ICC, like altogether too many other international institutions that claim to protect law and justice, is just another political institution. And like all those other political international institutions, it is all too ready to fabricate new and uniquely harsh standards of “law” to apply only to the detriment of the Jewish state, and to fabricate facts to find the leaders and Jewish citizens of the Jewish state guilty of all manner of horrible crimes.”

Amazingly, on Monday, Bensouda appealed the ICC ruling that she must reconsider her previous decision not to investigate Israeli “war crimes” on the Marmara. She wrote that the judges’ decision altered the mandate she was given under the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and dramatically expands the scope of issues the court is meant to deal with.

Since the ICC seems to be making up the rules as it goes along, it is refreshing to see its Chief Prosecutor attempt to retain a fiber of legitimacy for the court. Considering that South Africa made a mockery of the ICC by refusing to honor the arrest warrant of one of the world’s worst war criminals last month, that’s not likely to happen.

We are waiting to see how this saga unfolds.

J Street: the anti-Zionist ‘Zionists’

The self-proclaimed ‘pro-Israel’ lobby organization J Street, sitting comfortably in Washington, DC, is infamous for its left-wing approach to Israel.

But a column in The Daily Caller from Abraham H. Miller, an emeritus professor at the University of Cincinnati, exposes J-Street for its anti-Israel policies.

J Street has bought the administration’s convoluted defense of the Iran nuclear deal, while Israelis — who generally can’t agree on anything — are nearly unanimous in wondering what the president could be thinking.

That’s not particularly surprising, Professor Miller says. J Street co-founder Jeremy Ben Ami once called his group a blocking back for President Obama, and the group is raising $2 million of donations to support the marketing of the deal to the American public.

J Street even backed the Goldstone Report, which ludicrously alleged that Israel had a policy of intentionally targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. The report’s allegations were proved baseless, to the point that Goldstone himself and the Obama administration disavowed its findings. But J Street has not.

There’s more: J Street backed the Mavi Marmara flotilla and the murderous terrorists who attacked the IDF soldiers who interdicted the ship. During its 2013 convention, J Street warmly received a Palestinian call for formal recognition of the Palestinian description of the founding of Israel as a catastrophe: “Nakba.”

And there’s even more. Read a well-laid-out description of a sordid situation here.

WATCH: Palestinians educate their children with ignorance

If the world is ever to see peace in the Middle East, one of the biggest changes that must occur is the Arab world must begin educating its population that Israel is not the enemy. And that effort must begin with the children.

So it is dismaying to read, from an Israeli teachers association and Palestinian Media Watch via the Jerusalem Post, that the Palestinian Authority — supposedly Israel’s  partner for peace — is making tremendous efforts in exactly the opposite direction.

In a report, the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Israel writes that in PA classrooms, kids are still being taught that Jews are evil, Israel has no right to exist, and terrorist murderers are role models.

The report, to be delivered at the Education International World Congress this week in Ottawa, Canada, says that official PA education programs have kids reciting poems saying that Jews are monkeys and pigs and enemies of Allah.

And the PA has named schools after terrorists, including one named for the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was a Nazi collaborator.

This sort of report is hardly new. This educational child abuse in the PA has been going on for years. And no agreement of any sort is possible between Israel and the PA as long as this sort of grotesque irresponsibility continues.

Click here to read the report.