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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  • ingo

    Mike W, your personal attacks on Mary are spurious and unqualified, it negates what you say in the first place. Far from repeating Marks reposte, it is impossible for Israel’s hardliners to hide behind a positive facade, only actions can now change their flat relationship with the US, strained tight to say the least. The forthcoming release of 550 other prisoners will be a guide as to what Netanyahu wants to happen next. If he wants dialogue and progress, he will release Marwan Barghouti and the imprisoned elected Palestinian Parliamentarians, he will release the monies owed to the PA and Ghaza, as well as return PA tax records and state documents/archives.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Thanks for the links Mary – both very disturbing yet predictable.
    .
    Arthur Koestler wrote that in the Balfour letter “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” More than that, the country was still part of the Empire of a fourth, namely Turkey.
    .
    I present an extract from Britain’s Great War Pledge To Lord Rothschild by Robert John with some confidential information from the wire left by my great grand-father, telegraphist John Benjamin Waterman.
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    Preamble:
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    Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), descendant of Sephardim (on his rich father’s side) who had published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in Vienna in l896 at the First Congress, Litman Rosenthal, Herzl said,
    .
    “It may be that Turkey will refuse or be unable to understand us. This will not discourage us. We will seek other means to accomplish our end. The Orient question is now the question of the day. Sooner or later it will bring about a conflict among the nations. A European war is imminent. . The great European War must come. With my watch in hand do I await this terrible moment. After the great European war is ended the Peace Conference will assemble. We must be ready for that time. We will assuredly be called to this great conference of the nations and we must prove to them the urgent importance of a Zionist solution to the Jewish Question. We must prove to them that the problem of the Orient and Palestine is one with the problem of the Jews — both must be solved together. We must prove to them that the Jewish problem is a world problem and that a world problem must be solved by the world. And the solution must be the return of Palestine to the Jewish people.”[American Jewish News, 7 March 1919]
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    Three Pledges at the time of the Great War.
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    A series of letters passed between Sherif Hussein and the British Government through Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner for Egypt, designed to secure Arab support for the British in the Great War. One dated 24 October 1915 committed HMG to the inclusion of Palestine within the boundaries of Arab independence after the war, but excluded the area now known as Lebanon.
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    Sir Mark Sykes, Secretary of the British War Cabinet was sent to Russia to negotiate the Tripartite (Sykes-Picot) Agreement for the Partition of the Ottoman Empire. M. Picot was the French representative in the negotiations. Neither Hussein nor Sir Henry McMahon were made aware of these secret discussions. Among other things, the agreement called for parts of Palestine to be placed under “an international administration” which Russia insisted.
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    At a conference in New York on 30 August 1914, a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Louis D. Brandeis, with the British-born Dr. Richard Gottheil and Jacob de Haas, Rabbi Stephen Wise and Felix Frankfurter, among his principal lieutenants. Brandeis was advisor to to American President Wilson.
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    The chairman of the non-Zionist American Jewish Committee responded to an appeal by the Brandeis group that all American Jews should organize to emphasize Zionist aims in Palestine before the Great Powers in any negotiations during or at the end of the war
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    A Programme for a New Administration of Palestine in Accordance with the Aspirations of the Zionist Movement was issued by the English Political Committee of the Zionist Organization in October 1916 . The programme did not reach cabinet level because of Prime-Minister Asquith’s lack of support.
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    [Power of the main stream media (N.B.)]
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    At the time Lloyd George, was prepared to oust Asquith, his chief, by a coup de main. With the suspicious death of Kitchener Lioyd George rose to the War Office and he saw the top of the parliamentary tree within his grasp. In this maneuver he was powerfully aided by the newspaper proprietor Northcliffe, who turned all his publications from The Times downwards to depreciate Asquith, and by the newspaper-owing M.P., Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook).
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    With public sympathy well prepared, Lloyd George demanded virtual control of war policy. It was intended that Asquith should refuse. He did. Lloyd George resigned. Asquith also resigned to facilitate the reconstruction of the Government. The King then sent for the Conservative leader, Bonar Law, who, as prearranged, advised him to offer the premiership to Lloyd George.
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    Lioyd George and Balfour were in and the Declaration was soon to be signed…
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    N.B. The enormous human cost in the Great War was kept secret by restricting war correspondants and a heavily restricted wire between Berlin and Washington.

  • Abe Rene

    Edwin: if the Palestinians have already joined the ICC, what would be the point of Craig’s proclamation?

    But more to the point: the United States has halted its funding to UNESCO under a law passed by Congress requiring it to do so from any UN body that recognises Palestine as a member state.

    Therefore, the United States has by implication assented to this, that UNESCO has recognised Palestine as a member state!

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers (I’m not one) work the implications of that one out.

  • Abe Rene

    (Corrected)
    Edwin: if the Palestinians have already joined the ICC, what would be the point of Craig’s proclamation?

    But more to the point: the United States has halted its funding to UNESCO under a law passed by Congress requiring it to do so from any UN body that recognises Palestine as a member state.

    Therefore, the United States has by implication recognised the fact that UNESCO has recognised Palestine as a member state!

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers (I’m not one) work the implications of that one out.

  • Mike W

    Funny how you guys and gals can’t stand to be criticized for bias. Free speech still exists, I understand. Accusing me of being a Zionist spokesman or a troll isn’t gonna win an argument. It only confirms your prejudices.

    As long as ‘anti-Zionism’ is your noble cause, and Israel your favorite bogeyman, I see no point in wasting energy or ‘bandwidth’. For what it’s worth, the BBC is often accused by pro-Israelis of bias, as is The Guardian. If the Beeb has become a bit more objective ( as it should ), good luck to it. There *are* two sides to the Israel-Palestine conflict, you know, and it wouldn’t hurt to read the history books or scan Israeli newspapers which support a Zionist narrative.

    Over and out!

  • Komodo

    “Funny how you guys and gals” always pop up when Israel is doing, or about to do, something really shitty….

  • lwtc247

    Craig. I think you need to think deeper. The UN and “global” diplomacy has failed wholesale via this channel.
    .
    Do you honestly believe this organisation has achieved – even by a miserable standard – any of the “liberating” things it is supposed to have done.
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    Have there been more wars in a 66 year period than what there has been since ’45?
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    . If you were to draw up a list of the UN’s failings vs. it’s successes, you would still believe the UN’s the way to go? Come on Craig.
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    The UN is chiefly a WW2 victors organisation which allows for imperialism in various guises of Russia, China, US, UK and France.
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    And very probably the WTO,WB,IMF,BIS etc eclipse the UN.
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    Now, I happen to agree with you that there should be certain international laws that actually do the things that strange people beguile themselves into thinking the UN actually does. The UN however isn’t succeeding. I don’t think it was truly ever meant to.
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    Look at the satanic way killers BuSh and bLiar conducted an illegal (as declared by the highly ineffectual Kofi Annan) abuse of the UN and used it to wage a the war against Iraq, and before that impose murderous sanctions.
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    There are also allegations of corruption, drugs, and human (sex) trafficking and child sacrifice, all of which I haven’t got a clue if they are true or not, but would not be in the least bit surprised.
    How can you possible think good on the UN?
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    I rather think it’s you who’s displaying a certain shallow mindedness along with other UN cheerleaders for being unable/incapable of thinking/proposing anything other than the UN as being able to bring about much needed global equality.
    .
    Accusation of being “nihilistic” are a rather nihilistic way to attempt to stonewall actual real concerns – hardly diplomatic, is it?

  • Stephen

    Even if you accept that the Balfour Declaration was the wrong thing to do back in 1917 and that the establishment of Israel should not have been allowed post WW2 and the Holocaust and that behaviour of Israel to the Palestinians since then has been unacceptable and in many cases disproportionate to the threats that it has faced – there is still the question of what to do with the current population of Israel. It is a fact that they are not going to go anywhere else (especially since most of the population have ancestors who have paid for the consequences of being pushed around) and because they consider themselves just as much entitled to a secure homeland as do the Palestinians. If there is to be a peaceful settlement of this – the one thing I’m convinced of is that it will be occur as a result of each party seeking to change the hearts and minds of the other, and not by the ritual insults that are all too much in evidence here or by trying to argue that they have a better case.

    On the other hand you could have a war to the death and break the evil Zionist imperialist US, the source of all evil in the World, as the 99% are clearly demanding etc. etc.

  • ingo

    One book you should read Mike W. is by Avi Shlaim and it is called ‘the iron wal’ a metaphor for extolling that any other idea by zionism is to be kept out of the occupied territories.
    Prof. Shlaim is an imminent professor of Middle east studies at Oxford and his speciality is Israely foreign policies.

    Who and what has pointed you to this blog?

  • Stephen

    Ingo

    I think “Iron Wall” was meant as a metaphor for the defence/military policy followed by the Israeli government.

  • Komodo

    What to tell the leftwing bloggers if you are a Zionist: RSS feed to keep you updated with stuff to tell them about the Promised Land and the evil people who don’t like you: this week, IRAN!
    .
    http://www.giyus.org/
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    Former home of the “Megaphone” tool which enabled the faithful to punt the party line without even having to think about it

  • Abe Rene

    Mike W: I suppose you are aware that in the Occupied West Bank, apart from stealing land by illegal settlements, the Israelis have reserved for themselves all the best sources of water, the best roads (which Palestinians are not allowed to use) and forbidden or demolished schools that Palestinians try to build for their children? If this is not oppression, what do you call it? Even if the Jews were chosen by God in a special way, was it for this purpose – large-scale injustice and theft? Is that what you call being a light to the world?

  • Mike W

    PS. What brought me here was a link on Google about Palestine being admitted as a full member of UNESCO, Ingo.

    What surprised me is how certain many of you seem to be about your political convictions. I doubt any of you have ever visited Israel/Palestine or read the history of the last 100 years in depth, as I have.

    You may find an report on CNN.com today of interest. It tells of the suffering of many Sudanese or Eritrean refugees in Egypt at the hands of Beduin smugglers. These desperate Muslim refugees are trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel, where they will find relative safety and economic prosperity.

    Ignorance is bliss…

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Well said Abe Rene, before a solution can be re-considered I believe the present violation of UN Reso’s has to be addressed by International law and then some, including the dividing wall land grab, settler burning of olive groves, IDF occupation of Palestinian houses on high ground and continuing genocide in the Gaza strip.
    .
    To talk of booting Israelis out is wasting key-strokes and reference to hearts and minds at this juncture is premature.

  • Mike W

    Avi Shlaim, Finkelstein, Chomsky et al. Funny isn’t it that Jews can hold so many opposing opinions and tolerate even these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?

    Did it ever occur to any of you that the occupied territories are still in a legal limbo, hence they belong as much to Israel as to the Palestinian Arabs? Try reading up on the San Remo Resolution of 1920 which created the legal and political basis of modern Israel. Israel has tried swapping territories for peace – withdrawing from southern Lebanon and Gaza, but what has been the result? More hostilities or bloodshed.
    One day, there will be true peace, but that day is still in the distant future. Until then, the world has more urgent matters to deal with.

  • OldMark

    ‘These desperate Muslim refugees are trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel, where they will find relative safety and economic prosperity.’

    Howzat for a non sequitor ? Around 70% of refugees worldwide are muslim, and ‘desperate Muslim refugees’ attempt to cross the Turkish/Greek land border, and the Tunisia/Italy & Morocco/Spain maritime borders, in far greater numbers than those that try their luck on the Egypt/Israel border in the Negev. The fact that Israel, a prosperous ‘western’ country, is a magnet for third world refugees (like other wealthy countries) is irrelevant to determining whether Israel is justified in its attempts to strangle Palestinian statehood at birth.

  • Abe Rene

    Mark W,: “What surprised me is how certain many of you seem to be about your political convictions. I doubt any of you have ever visited Israel/Palestine or read the history of the last 100 years in depth, as I have.” You seem pretty certain yourself of your views of people that you do not know.

    I visited Israel in 1985 in a group of students and we had the chance to talk to Palestinians and visit Bethlehem. I remember a white South African woman in Beersheba married to an Israeli, who told us that the relations between Jews and Arabs seemed similar to those between whites and black in her native South Africa. This was when apartheid was very much alive. I imagine that life for Palestinians there is a lot tougher still now, with the security barrier. As for history, I have read Ben Gurion’s “Recollections” and seen Abba Eban’s historical documentary, as well as the film “A woman named Golda” starring Ingrid Bergman and Leonard Nimoy, and enjoyed the film “The Impossible Spy” starring John Shea. But I’ve also read Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid”, Elias Chagour’s “Blood Brothers” and the dialogue between Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said “Parallels and Paradoxes”. I’ve a good deal of admiration for what Barenboim is doing. Is the political spectrum of your own reading and viewing as wide?

    The fact that Africans try to escape desperate circumstances to Israel and relative prosperity does not justify what is going on in the West Bank. I understand in fact that they are not welcome in Israel, which is trying to deport them as much as European countries.

  • anon

    Mike W
    these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?

    Conflating ‘Jews’ and ‘Israel’ is such a basic error…go back to kindergarten. I suppose you think Trevor Huddleston was a self-hating caucasian?

  • Komodo

    Those desperate Muslims don’t seem to be blocking the road at Rafah, do they? Even Somalis fail to see Gaza for the paradise it isn’t.

  • ingo

    “Avi Shlaim, Finkelstein, Chomsky et al. Funny isn’t it that Jews can hold so many opposing opinions and tolerate even these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?”

    Thanks Mike, you are mistaken and the fables of the choosen people were wrong, sad that you had to wait so long to find out, somebody could have givven you a hint long ago.
    Israels inability to have any genuine relations with any of its neighbours has always been under flase pretences, to keep their backs calm whilst the persued their goal of driving the Palestinina from the lands they have lived in, for hundreds of years and in peace.

    Palestine is multicultural and Israel will have to realise that its down to their own policies.

  • C

    The reason Libyans were indicted without being State Party to the Rome Statute was because the Security Council (including US, Russia, China and India, none of which are part of the ICC membership) referred the case to the Court. The Security Council would never refer crimes committed in occupied Palestinian territory to the ICC.

  • Mike W

    “Israel’s inability to have any genuine relations with any of its neighbours..” –
    writes Ingo.

    As usual, you guys turn the truth upside-down without even realizing it. A Jewish national homeland in Palestine was created by Britain and the League of Nations in 1920 out of the vast lands of Ottoman Turkey. The Arabs were given Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Transjordan. It’s not about religion, it’s not about land; it’s about injured Arab pride and their stubborn desire to turn the clocks back to 1900 or even further. There will never be a lasting peace until they change their mindset and stop educating their children to hate Israelis/Jews.

  • Abe Rene

    “There will never be a lasting peace until they change their mindset and stop educating their children to hate Israelis/Jews.” I wonder whether you actually know any Palestinian parents, so as to know first-hand just how they educate their children. Or perhaps your opinions are not based on any such personal acquaintance? Anyway, stopping the occupation of territory which is not in your country (the West Bank) should help considerably towards such an end.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on.”
    .
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    so this is the reason thatcher gave her wholehearted support to mandela and the anc .. Wendy.
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    Off-topic, now, I know. But that is a simplistic view of how things work. If you were an imperial power (UK), you would want to prevent the perceived instruments (Communists in S. Africa) of the opposing imperial power (USSR) from gaining control of the major oppositional movement. Therefore, it makes eminent sense to recruit senior non-Communist figures in the opposition, even while actively supporting the Apartheid regime.
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    After all, Wendy, many of our own Trade Union leaders (allegedly, Jack Jones, Vic Feather and a number of others) were spying for MI5 during the Col war for exactly the same reasons, even while they were struggling against the government. George Orwell gave a list of names to MI6 for the same reasons. That is now openly agreed.
    .
    This kind of complex game is entirely normative, Wendy.

  • Ken Waldron

    It’s not about religion, it’s not about land…

    If its not about religion nor land, then what is Israel?

    the “Arabs” were given… & injured “Arab” pride…

    – So its a “race” thing then?

    But as far as I am aware, there is little to no real genetic difference between a Palestinian “Arab” and a “Jew” of Middle Eastern origin. Is this not the case?

    Back to religion and land?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Sorry, Wendy, reading over what I wrote, it sounded awfully patronising – I didn’t mean to be! Apologies if it looks that way.
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    Abe, yes, I agree entirely.
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    Mike W, you know, Israel has the power to dismantle any type of Palestinian state at any time it wants and this is likely to continue to be the case for the forseeable future. Indeed, it seems to have been busy doing just that for the pas how many years, so really, it has little to fear existentially, whatever the supposed duplicity of ‘the Arabs’ (to use a phrase typical of people who won’t want to acknolwledge that Palestinians exist and who seem to think it acceptable that all Arabic speakers normatively be homogenised).
    .
    But I recognise that it is likely that agreement will never be reached and that ‘the Arabs’ will be definitely divided and defeated, as they have been for the past so many decades. Israel – united, strong, First World Plus – will continue to be victorious and will continue to be supported in every way by the West. This will not change until the historical cycle shifts. ‘The Arabs’ would need to become like ‘China’ for this power dynamic to change – and they never will.

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