Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court 161

Palestine is now a state. Membership of the United Nations is not in international law a pre-condition of statehood, and indeed is not compulsory for states. The existence of states not members of the UN is recognised in international law, not least by the UN itself. Palestine has just joined UNESCO for example under a provision which allows states which are not members of the United Nations to join if they get qualified majority support – which Palestine overwhelmingly did.

So the UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, under Article 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

It would also be a huge chance for the International Criminal Court to redeem its reputation. It is widely believed, particularly in Africa, that the ICC is merely a tool of western domination and used against those that the NATO powers want it used against. That is a bit unfair on the court, who are dealing with the cases brought before them according to the statutes. Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence, and become a watershed for both Palestine and the ICC.

161 thoughts on “Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court

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  • Komodo

    There are undoubtedly Israelis who would disagree with me. Netanyahu, Livni and Liebermann to name but three. If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways. Nevertheless, the consistent pattern of the occupation has been to create facts on the ground. It is even occasionally admitted. Those facts do not include a Palestinian presence. By their works shall ye know them…if you are at all familiar with the New Testament…

    As to the Israelis who realise what’s going on and object to it, fair play to them. You will find B’Tselem is a better source than Ha’aretz, which itself is an excellent journal of record but is not too concerned about the elephant in the room.

  • ingo

    Phillip, good point. Only since the discovery of a smallish gasfield, enough to power Ghaza/the PA for decades to come have these territorial waters be reduced, unilaterally as you say.
    I very much hope that the PA adopts the law of the seas and establishes its own harbours.
    Stephen, when I feel that you need guidance on your thought crime, as you call your morale semaphors, I will talk about it, whether you ask for it or not!

  • Stephen


    I think you missed the following part of what I said

    …, who at the same time recognise and condemn the excesses and abuses of their state

    I very much doubt that Netanyahu and co – meet this additional criteria.

  • Komodo

    Ah, Stephen. You’re carrying the flag for the have-your-cake-and-eat-it tendency. Who (intellect again!) feel that the Palestinians can righteously be confined to ever-shrinking Bantustans, and deprived of the rights of full citizens, pending ever-receding promises of a future as a “state” without the power of self-determination, so long as it is done in a gentlemanly manner. And peacefully. I don’t think that’s a tenable or even a realistic position, and there we must differ.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Both Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi have been beatified by the West. Now, both were/are great men. But they were/are human beings with political faults. Gandhi’s actions definitely contributed to the rise of religion as mediator of political discourse and action in South Asia and his actions (as well as those of others) also contributed to the inevitability of the break-up of India (the ‘Partition’). He paid the ultimate price and so we must be circumspect, but rational analysis of Gandhi, the lawyer, the politician, seems to have been ditched in much of the public discourse in the West. Mandela made great sacrifices, as we know, nothing can take away from that. Yet he began political life as a strike-breaker and was always a fervent anti-Communist. Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on. The relevance of all this is simply to suggest that the matter of moral authority/legitimacy is complex.
    I wholeheartedly agree with Craig’s post. The UNESCO decision is indeed momentous, esp. with the overwhelming majority. And the USA immediately cutting off funding on the basis of the decision suggests three things:
    1) The embarassing depth to which the USA seems beholden to, or to perceive its interests wrt the Middle East as being identical with those of, Israel.
    2) The fact that the USA globally does not respect democracy.
    3) The USA’s strategic decision to destroy international institutions which defy its hegemony.

  • MarkU

    John Macadam re: “At least the Palestinians are not compelled, by law, to fund the BBC> In Scotland we are”

    Assuming that you mean the license fee, I think its worth pointing out that you are not compelled to have a TV. I got rid of my own TV when my license expired back in the 80’s, round about the time of the miners strike. I refuse to pay for my own brainwashing. If you are not talking about the license fee then please accept apologies in advance for my presumption.

  • Stephen


    Given your view of intellect is based upon not being able to read what people actually say and to attributing them with views that they don’t hold – yes you are right I have a minimal intellect.

  • Komodo

    Come on, Stephen. I’m sure you can do better than ad hominem if you put your mind to it. You are asserting that there are Israelis who do not believe, as I do, that Israel is simply establishing facts on the ground under the guise of an intentionally stalled peace process – who buy the public version of the Netanyahu account, in other words – and yet deplore the dedicated methods which unequivocally demonstrate the reality behind the facade? WTF do these heroes think the barriers and restrictions are for?

  • Stephen


    I am asserting what I am asserting – not what you say I am asserting. Contrary to what you may believe that are interpretations of Israel’s intentions and behaviour other than your own.

  • edwin

    there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court

    Yes, but the application takes time. You know, paper work, bureaucracy, noses to pick. You can’t expect this to happen overnight.

  • Stephen


    It would also be possible to come up with a similar partial and distorted account regarding the intentions and behavior of the Palestinians – and indeed Netanyahu and his friends do so on a regular basis. I daresay you would howl (or whatever lizards do) in protest, but can you fathom that such behaviour as well as being dishonest, will do absolutely nothing to change the situation and just entrnches existing prejudices.

    Please do not quote lists of Isreali attrocities/bad behaviour to me in response – I am not denying their existence nor will I engage in a distateful game of attrocities Top Trumps.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Apologies for the off topic.
    Has anyone noted that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been hired as personal adviser to the President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan. Some believe that Blair will help to Kazakhstan’s more pro Western transformation since Kazakh authorities are concerned with growing influence of China in the region.
    Others believe that Blair’s job will do more with assets management since it is believed that Nazarbaevs own over 15 billion of dollars most of which is currently placed in the UAE funds. It is believed that Blair will advise to Nazarbaev on how to make these billions more attractive to the western markets.
    I believe that Blair will do both.

  • Voila

    *didn’t the US previously cut off ties with UNESCO and stop funding the organization? I don’t think UNESCO has perished as a result of this.

    * wikipedia states: since 1991 the United States has been the world’s dominant military, economic, social, and political power (not to mention hosting the UN Headquarters itself in New York City); the United Nations was not designed for such a unipolar world with a single superpower, and conflict between an ascendant U.S. and other UN members has increased.

    * conflict between the U.S. and the UN predates the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1971, the UN adopted Resolution 2758—which effected the admission of the People’s Republic of China and the removal of the Republic of China—despite objections by the U.S. government’s. The U.S. government changed its own China policy shortly afterward, however, so the conflict between the UN and US foreign policy was short lived.

    *The U.S. government’s repeated opposition to Arab military actions has created much more tension between the U.S. government and the United Nations. The General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 1975 (the resolution states that zionizm is s a form of racism and racial discrimination), was strongly opposed by U.S. officials. In 1991 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 4686, which effectively negated Resolution 3379, which means zionism is NOT a form of racim and racial discrimination!!!. Use of its veto power to prevent the Security Council from issuing resolutions condemning Israeli military action in self-defense has frequently divided the U.S. from the Soviet Union, China and France in the Security Council; since 1989 the U.S. government has dissented against security council resolutions on more that 12 occasions out of 17 total instances when a permanent member vetoed. Of these 12 occasions, only two related to issues other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2009, the U.S. government abstained from Security Council Resolution 1860, which called for a halt to Israel’s military response to Hamas rocket attacks, and the opening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

    *Under the Reagan administration, the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO, withheld its dues to encourage the UN to repeal Resolution 3379, which it did in 1991.

    -Now, will theu now try to repeal UNESCO’s decision on Palestine?!
    I think the citizens of the world need to make decision and move the UN headquarters to more civilised countries in Europe.

  • Chris2

    Israel depends, for its existence, on the apathy of the American public, which as a backdrop, highlights the fanatical commitment of a lobby which is well financed but very short of constituents.
    AIPAC is only powerful because most American voters care so little about foreign policy that they lap up the most extraordinary nonsense about Israel and Cuba (as another example.)
    But all this is changing now. The Depression is biting very deeply in the States, quite apart from the fifty million families reduced to food stamps and an equal number without any medical insurance,, the latest Congressional figures show that half of the population lives in poverty or very close to it.

    In short people are beginning to ask what happened to the nation’s legendary wealth. And a very obvious part of the answer is that hundreds of billions have been spent pursuing the discredited policies of the Jabotinsky zionists.

    Israel is the keystone of the US ” security architecture” in western eurasia. The preservation of this colony, by increasingly complex and costly manouevres, by dividing its enemies, breaking up their states, betting heavily on three legged outsiders like the Saud family or the kleptocrat emirs in the Gulf, utterly discredited, worn out tyrants such as Jordan’s Hashemites and the latest sysyphusean labour, in the shape of replacing Mubarak with another Mubarak, has become the central obsessive work of the United States. All the power of the Pentagon, all the resources of the State Department are devoted, primarily, to strengthening Israel’s position.

    But the task is quite impossible: Israel spends all its energies (most of them derived from US taxpayers’ subsidies) to weakening its position. Ir refuses to contemplate the chance of making Peace while everything is in its favour. Instead of cashing in on its victories it pirouettes on a precipice and warns the world that it is endangered.

    And everything it does costs the Poor Bloody Punter in Peoria more money (an Iron Dome!) and the lives of more kids from the Appalachians, more R and D for Boeing and Lockheed and more billion dollart a year bases. Mr Karimov is just another element in the edifice of which Israel is the keystone. The prospect of war and peace in the Indian sub-continent is intimately linked with Pakistani alliances in the Gulf and Brahmin empathies with Zionists. Washington is a city obsessed with Israel.

    And Israel is but a tiny colony, a pumped up Southern Rhodesia, an Algerie with a dwarf root system. In the current burgeoning crisis in the United States the fact that the government has earmarked about a trillion and a half dollars (and equivalently outlandish sums) annually for decades, simply to preserve Israel’s right to insult and humiliate all comers is going to require justification a little more profound than those currently on offer: 1/ That Europe’s Jews are the descendants of Palestinians exiled more than a millenium ago; 2/ That God wants the Jews to rally in the Holy Land so that they can be liquidated to prepare the way for the return of the Messiah.

    The story of the period of US superpowerdom is its weakness for fascism. It was that which lay behind the Cold War, the refusal to come to terms not only with a Soviet Union exhausted and eager to treat, but with the anti-fascist forces from Italy’s communists to Ho Chi Minh, Mao and North Korea, which gave rise to the Cold War, which ended with the boot being put in (to the cheers of Croatians fascists and their German friends) to the last Partisan legacy, Tito’s Yugoslav Federation. Throughout the Cold War the US nursed the poisonous remnants of the Nazi axis, protecting Franco and Salazar from their angry populations, cossetting ex-SS groups in every city in north and south America, employing fascists to hunt down communists…it is an old story. And the Jabotinsky zionists are the one fascist party which can claim uninterrupted continuity from the 1930s. The one fascist party that is, besides the original wellspring of fascism which is from the Southern States, the old alliance between vicious business interests and KKK racism, whose current form is the Republican Party, which was the segregationist Democracy of the Solid South and the New South. The principle of extreme inequality and forced labour which is the spectre haunting the modern world.

    Americans who cannot feed their kids, whose kids schools are broken down, unstaffed and unequipped, who are paying the world’s highest prices for pharmaceuticals, are losing their homes and are unable to find jobs, where BMW workers are earning $12 an hour (and are envied) are beginning to wonder why.

    It is in these circumstances that Palestine’s calls for peace and a just settlement will in future be examined, whether the Zionists like it or not.

  • Michael Culver

    The I.C.C. has consistently obfuscated any investigations of the atrocities in Iraq and refused to institute proceedings against the Bliar. It is so obviously a tool of Western Imperialism. We will see no justice from it. However if viewers look further afield they will find a War Crimes Tribunal has just been convened in Kuala Lumpur indicting Bush Bliar Cheney Rumsfeld Yoo Bybee et al. Obviously it will be merely symbolic in its findings as getting any of these psychopaths to attend will probably be er difficult! However let the proceedings begin and it may add even more pressure on the authorities here. Interestingly the B.Brainwashing Corp; has given this news zero coverage. Wonder if Chilcott will be paying any attention?!

  • Mike Wine

    I love it how this issue Palestine-Israel gets massive feedback unlike so many other urgent world problems. Why is that? Could it be that most of us are outsiders and don’t know the local politics very well – but that doesn’t stop us from pontificating and moralizing – or just meddling if you will, because it is such a newsworthy item.

    The fact is that this is a very complex historical-political-legal-moral problem that has lasted for more than 60 years. Those who blindly declare that one side (usually Israel) is the baddie are, I would suggest, using emotion not intellect. It’s fair to say that the Arab-Israel conflict has largely become a cause célèbre, an abstract post-colonialist ideology to attack in all cases, largely to the detriment of the two local protagonists, the Palestinians and the Israelis. In brief, iIt would be nice to see an admission that this is not a simple case of goodies versus baddies.

  • Komodo


    Straw man. I have no more sympathy for Palestinian extremists than I have for Israeli ones. I hope you are as familiar as I with the long list of atrocities on both sides. Which have resulted in approximately 100 times as many Palestinians being killed as Israelis…so there’s no dispute about the “top trump” in that field, is there?
    Are you asserting that you are neutral in this? Claiming objectivity? Your position is not very clear.

  • American

    “If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways.”

    This yank calls it ‘genocide’ because that is what it is.
    If it was anyone but Jews committing it everyone would call it genocide. Time to break that taboo. It is what it is.

    Article 2
    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mike, wrt the complexity, I agree ith what you’re saying about ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. It’s not a simple question. But, if you search the site, there have been many discussions over the years in the context of the complexity of the issue – this is not the only thread that has dealt with the Palestine-Israel issue. And if you check this site, you’ll find that many other urgent world problems are being argued over, sometimes ferociously! Yes, Palestine-Israel is a cause celebre. But perhaps to some extent that is because it deserves to be. ‘Apartheid South Africa’, for example, was also a cause celebre – and it deserved to be. But saying that is a ‘fashionable’ cause does not mean that it is not a worthwhile cause. And cynicism is a hiding to nowhere.

  • Komodo

    American…hmmm…I think the Israelis would be happy if the Palestinians would just leave, and go and live in Jordan or somewhere. Except, of course, they can’t leave Gaza at all. Maybe you have a point.

  • Stephen


    My position on this is that I’m not taking a position on this. And I pretty clear that doing so will be of little use in finding a solution. Top Trumps is a game this isn’t. I can seen arguments being put forward with equal vehemence and certainty on both sides supported by selectively chosen facts.

    I agree totally with Mike that this is not a simple case of goodies versus baddies – and hence my initial objection to Craig’s viewpoint “that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel” was a fact.

    Perhaps those with greater certainty on this issue might wish to look at this survey of Israeli attitudes and then consider how a change in those attitudes might be achieved which surely has to occur if there is be anything which might be seen as a peaceful resolution.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    You said, ‘My view is that both Israel and Palestine have moral legitimacy’ which begs the question, how morally legitimate is the state of Israel?
    Attempting to answer that question makes me think about the principles of its founders. In an age of terror and fear Israel’s founding presents some real problems to me. It is well known that the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang became the IDF.
    I remind myself of the Deir Yassin incident at the time of Israeli independence in 1948. In Deir Yassin, a village of about 1,400 men women and children, roughly 253 people were massacred by elements of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Menachem Begin was quoted as saying, ‘accept my congratulations on this splendid conquest … As at Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy.’
    The widespread panic this caused forced roughly 650,000 Palestinians, to leave their land, and emigrate as refugees.
    Menachem Begin you’ll recall, not only became prime minister, but actually won the Nobel Peace Prize(Obama:Drones?) was also behind the terror bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.
    The falling towers reminds us ‘terror’ works really well in forcing through an agenda. The King David incident, combined with the kidnapping and execution of two innocent British soldiers in reprisal for the execution of several Zionist terrorists, directly caused the British to withdraw. Deir Yassin was instrumental in causing a convenient mass emigration of Arabs. Two huge problems solved, and these two incidents were pivotal in the founding of Israel.
    The problem has not gone away. Israel has been in a constant state of war from its founding. The underlying causes of the conflict are fully intact. The Muslim population keeps growing, and as generations of young Palestinians grow up fighting, the problem has amplified.
    America and British power are inextricably intertwined with Israel and with a plan to dominate the Middle East by deception, terror and war, only us, the 99% can prevent another holocaust, the aftermath of which would be the self-immolation of Muslim soldiers world-wide; martial law and total domination of the Western world by government force would ensue.
    So, in answer to your question, I say Israel has no moral legitimacy at all.

  • Abe Rene

    “Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome .. the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil..” So, are they in the process of doing it?

  • Stephen


    First I never asked a question about my views – so no answer was required.

    I also remember the Holocaust as well. So what would you do with the Jews who now live in Israel – drive them into the sea ask them nicely to pack up and go elsewhere?

    Your views are not part of the 99%, apart from the very small circles in which you move – and that is a demonstrable fact.

  • doug scorgie

    About getting rid of your TV so you don’t have to pay for the BBC. If your computer can recieve live tv (like Parliament Live) you have to get a TV licence


  • Suhayl Saadi

    Did the Oslo Accords – flawed as they were – not state that there would be a Palestinian state. So why is this now controversial? It’s what Israel signed-up to, nearly 20 years ago! It’s what Yitzak Rabin was assassinated for. UNESCO were simply recognisiing what Israel officially agreed to, 20 years ago, and what the USA (including George W. Bush!) has been agreeing officially to ever since, that it is only right that the Palestinians have their state.

  • Mike W.

    Suhayl Saadi,

    Oslo is dead, just like Arafat. Who killed them? – I think it was the duplicity of the Palestinian side. They didn’t want a state alongside Israel ( Jordan is already a ‘Palestinian’ state ). They wanted and still want a state from the river to the sea meaning all of Israel – though they may say otherwise to Western media. What is there to negotiate when they have a Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Ramallah who both agree that Israel post-1947 must be dismantled ? The Arab spring has yet to become summer. If I were in Israel, I’d prefer to wait and see before trusting any Palestinian leader to keep his word.

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