World View: Palestine Joins the International Criminal Court

World View: Palestine Joins the International Criminal Court

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Canada and Britain close their Cairo Egypt embassies over security concerns
  • State of Palestine joins the International Criminal Court

Canada and Britain close their Cairo Egypt embassies over security concerns

British Embassy in Cairo
British Embassy in Cairo

Canada on Monday joined Britain in closing its embassy in Cairo Egyptover security concerns raised by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(IS or ISIS or ISIL). According to a statement from Canada’s foreignaffairs minister:

As a security precaution, and to ensure theprotection of Canadian staff, we have closed our embassy in Cairofor the day. We take the safety of our personnel and our missionoverseas very seriously. We are monitoring events closely andtaking appropriate security measures. … We don’t commentpublicly on security precaution specifics at ourmissions.

According to the UK government web site, “Public services at theBritish Embassy in Cairo are currently suspended. The office of theBritish Consulate-General in Alexandria is operating as normal.”

The U.S. issued a travel warning, but the Cairo embassy remains open.

The security concerns are thought to be related to recent terroristattacks in Egypt and threats by ISIS. The concerns were heightenedby a suspicious yellow powder sent to multiple Western consulates inIstanbul, Turkey.

According to an Australian travel advisory:

Reports of early December, 2014, indicate thatterrorists may be planning attacks against tourist sites,government ministries and embassies in Cairo.

Decisions on whether to reopen the embassies are being made on a day byday basis.

Globe and Mail (Ottawa) and UK Government

State of Palestine joins the International Criminal Court

Carrying through on his threat, Palestinian Authority presidentMahmoud Abbas joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) withobserver status on Monday. In doing so, the PA came one step closerto seeking membership in the ICC in order to bring war crimesaccusations against Israel for the Gaza war earlier this year. Atpresent, Palestine has the same observer status as the US, Russia,China, India or any other country that is not a signatory of the RomeStatute.

However, if the ICC takes jurisdiction over crimes committed in theIsrael-Palestine conflict, then both sides would have to be heldaccountable. The Palestinians would have to deal with the followingproblems:

  • They would have to prove that Israel’s targets were not legitimate military targets, and that the intention was to cause indiscriminate or disproportionate harm to civilians. This would be difficult to prove, since armed Palestinian militias were launching rockets from within the civilian population.
  • Under its rules, the ICC could only proceed if there were no genuine domestic investigations or prosecutions. Israel has already initiated its own investigations of at least some of the incidents of civilian deaths in Gaza.
  • On the other hand, Israel could make a much more straightforward case that Hamas’s firing of rockets and missiles at Israeli communities had the intention of causing indiscriminate or disproportionate harm to civilians, especially since Palestinian military leaders have stated on numerous occasions that they consider Israeli civilians to be legitimate military targets.

For those reasons, Abbas may completely avoid making charges relatedto the Gaza war and, instead, accuse Israel of human rights violationsin the West Bank. Al Jazeera and Open Democracy

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Canada, Britain, Cairo, Egypt, Australia,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, State of Palestine,International Criminal Court, ICC, Gaza
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