JERUSALEM — The inexcusable decision by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor to proceed with a probe into Israeli “war crimes” can only be explained as being motivated by raw antisemitism.
How else to fathom the ICC’s singling out of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which goes further than any other military in the world to protect civilians in the battlefield.
The IDF operates in a complex theater in which Palestinian terrorists use civilians as human shields, deliberately house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas and indiscriminately fire projectiles into Jewish civilian population zones.
Still, the IDF goes to extreme lengths to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians even though terrorists intentionally surround themselves with civilians to thwart Israeli operations because they know that Israel is a beacon of morality.
The Israeli military regularly warns civilians of incoming attacks with phone calls and text messages. It employs “roof knocking” — or firing warning shots before any aerial bombing – thus providing Palestinian terrorists with advance warning of incoming attacks. If civilians in the vicinity still don’t evacuate, the Israeli army often makes announcements on loudspeakers. The IDF has called off scores of military raids because civilians were in the way.
Making a mockery of justice, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on Friday that she was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine.” Bensouda ignores that Palestine, of course, is not an existing state.
Bensouda claimed “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by the IDF for allegedly launching disproportionate attacks and “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health… and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”
For good measure, she seemingly drew a moral equivalence between the IDF and Hamas, charging that there is “reasonable basis to believe that members of Hamas and Palestinian armed groups” also “committed… war crimes” by targeting civilians or engaging in torture.
Her statements have been taken as an indication that a full investigation could be launched, potentially resulting in charges against Israeli officials.
Bensouda’s outrageous claim of “willful killing” flies in the face of everything the IDF does to protect civilians. And her charge of Israel’s “disproportionate” response during the Gaza War opposes basic military doctrine of deterrence.
Let’s not forget why the Gaza War was launched in the first place. Hamas repeatedly violated a truce by firing scores of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian population zones. In one day alone, July 8, Hamas launched 40 rockets into Israel, prompting Israeli retaliation and the start of the conflict.
What nation on earth would allow a terrorist army to amass a rocket infrastructure in a neighboring territory and use that land — which Israel evacuated in hope of peace — as a staging ground for constant terrorist rocket attacks?
By claiming that Israel’s self-defense is “disproportionate,” what exactly is the ICC trying to say? That instead of acting to minimize the terrorist threat against its civilians, Israel should respond to every act of Palestinian terrorism with an equivalent act? So if Hamas fires a rocket into a Jewish city, Israel should respond in kind by indiscriminately launching a terror rocket into a Palestinian city with the intent of killing civilians? That the next time a Palestinian stabs an Israeli, the Jewish state should send one of its own into Ramallah to stab a Palestinian civilian? The ICC charge is preposterous, nonsensical, and negates Israel’s ability to defend itself and degrade Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure.
Which so-called war crimes did the IDF commit exactly? Who provided the ICC with this purported information? Every “government” agency in the Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, which has a history of distorting casualty counts and staging provocations meant to draw Israeli fire toward civilians. Gaza’s Health Ministry, routinely relied upon for casualty numbers, is entirely a Hamas government body.
Not satisfied with smearing the IDF, the ICC goes on to claim that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem themselves could constitute a crime. In other words, Jews living in historically Jewish communities such as Hebron, Beit El, or even the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem could constitute a crime, according to the ICC.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightfully expressed his astonishment that Bensouda “says it is a crime, a war crime, for Jews to live in their homeland, the land of the Bible, the land of our forefathers.”
He further derided the ICC decision as “a dark day for truth and justice,” calling Bensouda’s ruling “scandalous and baseless.”
He noted the ICC “has no authority to adjudicate the matter. It has jurisdiction only in lawsuits presented by sovereign states, but there has never been a Palestinian state. We will not accept or acquiesce to this injustice. We will continue to fight it with all the tools at our disposal.”
Bensouda “entirely ignored serious judicial arguments we presented,” Netanyahu added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday slammed the ICC: “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly.”
“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC.”
Netanyahu, for his part, explained the ICC was being utilized as a “political tool” against the Jewish state.
I’ll complete Netanyahu’s sentiment. The ICC decision constitutes pure antisemitism, plain and simple.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.