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Cole writes: "If the International Criminal Court takes up Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, it could well find specific officials guilty of breaches of the Rome Statute of 2002."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be brought before the ICC by the Palestinians. (photo: Jack Guez/AFP)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be brought before the ICC by the Palestinians. (photo: Jack Guez/AFP)


What Would Happen if the Int'l Criminal Court Indicted Israel's Netanyahu?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

03 January 15

 

f the International Criminal Court takes up Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, it could well find specific officials guilty of breaches of the Rome Statute of 2002. Article 7 forbids “Crimes against Humanity,” which are systematically repeated war crimes. Among these offenses is murder, forcible deportation or transfer of members of a group, torture, persecution of Palestinians (an “identifiable group”) and “the crime of Apartheid.”

The Israeli government murdered Palestinian political leaders (not just guerrillas) and have routinely illegally expelled Palestinians from the West Bank or from parts of the West Bank illegally incorporated into Israel. They deploy torture against imprisoned Palestinians. Their policies on the West Bank, of building squatter settlements on Palestinian land from which Palestinians are excluded, is only one example of Apartheid policies. Getting a conviction on Article VII should be child’s play for the prosecutor. And there are other articles which Israel is guilty of contravening.

If Israeli government officials or leaders of the squatters in the Palestinian West Bank were convicted by the ICC, would there be any hope of enforcement? Israeli firms doing business in the West Bank would be exposed to billions of dollars of legal actions in European courts and would be unable to sell their goods in Europe, if they were declared fruits of crimes against humanity and apartheid. If the legal actions were brought by Palestine, Israel would be ordered to pay it massive reparations.

The ICC can only work through member states. But it could authorize those states to capture and imprison Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, for instance. While it is unlikely that this could happen, Israel’s leadership might not be able to visit most of Europe, which would isolate them and much reduce their influence. The European institutions in Brussels would take an ICC conviction seriously.

The African Union and the Arab world decided to protect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from the ICC verdict against him. According to the African Union, he can freely visit African countries. But he cannot visit Europe or large numbers of other countries without risking arrest. And even in Africa, al-Bashir in 2013 had to abruptly leave the Nigerian capital of Abuja after only 24 hours because a Nigerian international law association filed a court case to have him arrested.

Over a third of Israeli trade is with Europe, and technology transfers from Europe are crucial to Israel. It could be kicked out of European scientific and technological organizations, where it presently has courtesy memberships. And Israeli leaders could end up being afraid to visit European capitals lest they be arrested, Pinochet style (even if governments ran interference for them, they could not be sure to escape lawsuits by citizen groups and could not be insulated from activist judges).

The world wouldn’t end for Israeli leaders if they were convicted, as it hasn’t ended for al-Bashir. But the consequences would be real and unpleasant, and over time could have a substantial impact.

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+65 # A_Har 2015-01-03 17:40
Well, hells bells! That would be a terrific day!

It ought to be seconded by a huge cutback of funding by the USA to Israel. I think I would be ecstatic.
 
 
+42 # RGV.REG 2015-01-04 08:45
Then next, bring the Bush Administration up on War Crime charges !
 
 
+51 # babalu 2015-01-03 20:20
I understand that Israel beat them to the Hague with proposing war crimes for a Palestinian leader. Typical of Israeli to yell murder when they have first murdered.
Agree: cut off their funding!
Lindsay Graham is a traitor for visiting Netty and promising to "follow him."
 
 
+53 # Ken Halt 2015-01-03 22:19
This is a long-overdue look at Israeli arrogance, apartheid, and disregard for international law and Geneva Conventions, to which Israel agreed to abide when it joined the UN. To hold Israel to the standards of international law and Geneva Conventions is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Judaic, especially since Geneva Conventions were formulated post WWII in large part because of the atrocities visited upon Jewish people during that conflict.
 
 
-1 # politicfix 2015-01-07 16:45
The US is their protector and nothing has happened to Bush and Cheney thus far.
Many of the huge financiers are Jewish and money and power talk.
 
 
+26 # aljoschu 2015-01-03 23:10
Not "If the International Criminal Court takes up Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories," - the court simply has to - in order not to render itself irrelevant for the future.
 
 
+7 # roger dittmann 2015-01-03 23:34
Palestinians in Sarajevo for the Centennial of the "Great War To End All War And Make the World Safe for Democracy" said that they would use application to join the ICC as a bargaining chip. Obviously no bargaining succeeded. I would have applied for ICC membership long ago, if only to expose the hypocrisy noticed by African states now threatening to withdraw. That would be a big setback for the rule of law and civilization. The refusal of the US Senate to ratify the ICC [Rome Treaty] also exposes the ICC as a "might makes right" court lacking in the legitimacy necessary to be fair and effective..
 
 
+30 # politicfix 2015-01-03 23:41
The US, as a world leader, got away with crimes against humanity and violated the Geneva Convention. Would it be surprising that other countries are following suit and do not expect any consequences for their actions. If your going to be a world leader, you need to set a good example for others countries to follow. What is this? Crooks of the world unite?
 
 
+47 # A_Har 2015-01-03 23:57
Yep...Bush and Cheney ADMITTED to their war crimes on national news with "no regrets."

Too bad they can't be trotted off to the Hague. Really too bad.
 
 
+10 # cymricmorty 2015-01-04 08:38
Some SS war criminals slunk off to South America...so if not the Hague, there's the Bush hidey-hole in Paraguay. They all deserve each other's vile company.
 
 
+39 # riverhouse 2015-01-04 01:11
What would happen if the ICC convicted Israel and Netanyahu of war crimes? All the civilized world would rejoice, that's what would happen.
 
 
+46 # futhark 2015-01-04 01:56
And if the U.S. turned George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, et al. over to the ICC for trial, the world would be astounded that the "greatest democracy" actually acted upon ethical principles it espouses rather than relying on its myth of American exceptionalism and its sophistication and proliferation of weapons technology to withhold from the justice they have earned and richly deserve.
 
 
+30 # handskhan 2015-01-04 01:19
It is the lack of fear and the support from powerful friends that makes Israel and its PM do and say things which would be criminal under any standards..
It is a pity that in this day and age there is no one to challenge the illegal acts of Israel.
We are living in the age of jungle - Might is Right!!!
With the weapons now available this could only lead to self destruction.
 
 
+4 # trilemmaman 2015-01-04 05:15
Nothing. That's what would happen. The ICC has no enforcement powers. And even if there was a conviction of any Israeli or US leader, if their nation didn't agree with the conviction, they would never be held accountable. The nation, even if it is a signer of the Rome statue...could decline any cooperation of any investigation. International law can work for justice if its enforceable.
 
 
+7 # jwb110 2015-01-04 12:32
Quoting trilemmaman:
Nothing. That's what would happen. The ICC has no enforcement powers. And even if there was a conviction of any Israeli or US leader, if their nation didn't agree with the conviction, they would never be held accountable. The nation, even if it is a signer of the Rome statue...could decline any cooperation of any investigation. International law can work for justice if its enforceable.


It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
 
 
+14 # RMDC 2015-01-04 10:31
Ariel Sharon was charged and convited at the World Court for the massacres of Palestinians at the Shabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon. Regan was convicted by the World Court for terrorism against the people of Nicaragua for planting mines in the harbor and blowing up a school bus.

Nothing happened to Sharon or Reagan. They are still idolized by the right wing.

But it is still good to prosecute and convict war criminals -- Bush, Cheney, Obama, Patraeus, Netanyahoo, Perez, and so on. It is good for them to be labeled for what they really are. If Israel wants to re-elect a convicted war criminal, then it can. But the world will know.
 
 
+1 # babalu 2015-01-05 06:40
I had never seen this information. Please provide a cite, so I can rub salt in the wounds of the righteous Right!
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2015-01-05 07:59
I'm not surprised that most people have forgotten that these right wing heroes were convicted of war crimes (Sharon) and terrorism (Regan) by the World Court. These cases are written about pretty much. You can find them on wikipedia --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaragua_v._United_States

After these convictions, the US destroyed the World Court and made it totally impotent.
 
 
+10 # reiverpacific 2015-01-04 11:05
Two warmongering brother-sister rogue States, umbilically joined, heavily and destructively armed are sadly, unlikely to be convicted of anything and their collapse will have to come from within -like all Empires and their satellites.
But they are still capable of so much damage globally and regionally, included Genocide -which Big Bro' has already had plentiful experience with and is willingly and profitably assisting li'l Bro' with -and L b' is doing pretty well out of the arms trade too.
 
 
+8 # jwb110 2015-01-04 13:03
The US population is tiring of war in general and that is bound to include tiring all war in which the US plays a role. Support for Israel is slipping in an average population. There is no more moral highroad where the Israeli gov't is concerned. "Pride goeth before a fall" and the Israelis have failed to understand that in a country like the US and many Western countries in general, WW2 and the German Final solution are no longer germane, particularly in the minds of a large US generation who are just keeping their heads above water economically. That card cannot be played in more and more countries. The industry of the Holocaust just doesn't mean much when so many other peoples on the world are suffering their systematic destruction.
Israel seems to continue to overplay it hand and its support by the lunatic fringe of the Christian Right and the like of Sheldon Adelson look less and less philanthropic in a country like the US where multiple types of racism exist and seem more and more to be acted upon.
All government is a bottom up system regardless of money trying to make it different. There is always the chance that one "rascal" running for office and taking an anti-Israel position might find a groundswell of support.
I would remind that Geo Bush 2 in his first month or so in Office said there would be no special support for Israel and its problems in their region.
Special interest groups ended that.
 
 
+5 # politicfix 2015-01-04 14:13
Interpol has indictments out on Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. We are harboring them in exile in the United States. The President has not publicly addressed the issue of the Interpol indictments, how the Geneva Convention was violated, and the responsibility of the US with regard to these issues. If it were anyone else, would they be treated the same way? It's wrong, and again....it's about money and power.
 
 
+2 # fredboy 2015-01-04 16:53
And how about Bush and Cheney?
 
 
+2 # AUCHMANNOCH 2015-01-04 20:47
Very sorry guys but unfortunately that's just not true. This is what Politifacts says about it.
"Interpol, the international police organization, does not list any outstanding arrest warrants for Bush or Cheney in their searchable database. Meanwhile, experts in international law said they were not aware of pending warrants, particularly from the most obvious entity that might issue one -- the International Criminal Court in the Hague."
 
 
+2 # cymricmorty 2015-01-05 08:31
Damn. Another small satisfaction bites the dust.
 
 
+5 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-01-04 21:19
Netanyahu is a WAR CRIMINAL. The law REQUIRES prosecution. How many U.S. Senators violated the Leahy Amendment? Almost every one.
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-01-05 19:22
Well, to be realistic, we do not *HAVE* rule of law any more.
 
 
+9 # Eliz77 2015-01-04 22:22
Actually, since Bush, Cheney, and many of our leaders, have violated so many laws of the land, we the people of the United States of America can bring charges against them in any court of the nation. It is up to us.
 

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