Hague Redemption 132


I am delighted that Palestine has finally applied to join the International Criminal Court. It is over three years since I blogged in recommendation that Palestine do this, and I have been somewhat baffled as to why it has taken so long to take a step which much of the international legal and human rights community has been so long urging. My own contacts into PLO circles (which do not rise above middling level) indicated simply that the leadership view was that “the time was not yet right”.

This delay was but one indicator of the powerlessness of the Abbas position, obliged to pay lip service to a US-led “peace process” which he knows to be an utter sham, and bullied by Blair and Obama into comparative quiescence by the threat of cutting off international lifelines to the beleaguered Palestinian people. But there should never have been any doubt that quiescence would result in continuing but deadly sure, slow strangulation. Intelligent pro-activity, such as joining the ICC, is a far better option.

For Obama to describe Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court as “provocative” is ludicrous. How can it be provocative to seek to come under the jurisdiction of international law? It is US and Israeli exceptionalism that is a standing provocation to the international community.

We will now see what the ICC actually is. As a strong supporter of the rule of international law, I was reluctant to join the criticism of the ICC which notes it is active only against those condemned by the West. But the ICC’s inaction over the illegal invasion of Iraq remains inexcusable. It’s African trials conveniently ignore the colonial context. For example, the root cause of the ethnic violence in Kenya was white appropriation of the best farming land which evicted indigenous tribes into the territory of other tribes, causing resource conflict which still echoes. The ICC’s interest in Africa also carefully avoids the West’s preferred dictators and mineral grabs.

The ICC has already failed a key test where it declined to take action over the murderous Israeli assault on the Mavi Mamara on the grounds that the scale of the war crime was insufficient to reach the bar of the Court’s attention. That was not an incorrect legal argument, but an activist court could have gone either way.

The illegal Israeli settlements and murderous invasions of Gaza cannot be ruled inconsequent. Now the ICC has a chance to show whether it really is interested in the rule of international law, or whether it is simply a tool of neo-conservative hegemony.

The World is watching. Can The Hague redeem itself?


132 thoughts on “Hague Redemption

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    Sorry, Canspeccy – that was aimed more at Mary’s intervention (of which that is a quotation). I take your point completely, even though I hate to! Facts have to be faced. Politics is the art of the possible. Don’t mind me.

  • Jemand

    Realistic prognosis of Israel-Palestinian conflict?

    1. Israel will continue to obstruct statehood for Palestine.

    2. Settlements will ratchet on, encroaching slowly but surely into Palestinian areas exhibiting least resistance to those settlements.

    3. Palestinians will be forced into a single manageable contiguous land mass, probably Gaza.

    4. When all possible energy resources are exploited in the region, the Palestinians will be allowed to proceed with obtaining statehood on condition that they waive all rights to previously held territories.

    5. The outcome will be an irreversible fait accompli.

  • CanSpeccy

    Perhaps a more realistic option for the Palestinians would be a deal with Egypt. A real example of a people without a land occupying a land without a people (The Sinai). The North and South Governates of Sinai have a population of only 600,000 people and the Palestinians would need only a small fraction of that for which they could surely pay (what, after all, can a square mile of sand be worth).

    With full and fair compensation from US/Israel, the city state of New Palestine would arise on the Mediterranean coast surrounded by a 50 kilometer square of irrigated garden to feed everyone.

    Such a state would facilitate trade between Egypt and Israel to the benefit of all parties.

  • CanSpeccy

    @Jemand

    no muslim country wants the Palestinians

    Nobody to know the reason why!

    Come’n give us a clue.

    Anyhow, giving the Palies a bit of unoccupied desert hardly constitutes “having” them. They wouldn’t be part of the Egyptian state, but they would provide a useful buffer between Egypt and Israel.

  • Jemand

    Even if a muslim country would take them, the Palestinians would probably reject the offer, and nationalists would ensure that of everyone.

    As for reasons, who would want a problem people with an undying hope of recreating their own nation?

  • CanSpeccy

    Even if a muslim country would take them, the Palestinians would probably reject the offer

    Yeah, well that’s not what I was talking about. I was proposing that Egypt sell the Palestinians a bit of uninhabited and unexploited sand. It still seems a perfectly good proposition to me that would benefit Israel, the Palestinians who who have their state back, and the Egyptians.

    And in what way are the Palestinians more of a problem people than say, the Jews, or the Americans, or any other people (other than that they have been the victims of rape and pillage for more than seventy years)?

  • Jemand

    “I was proposing that Egypt sell the Palestinians a bit of uninhabited and unexploited sand.”

    The Russians must be kicking themselves for having sold off Alaska. Not only does land have value in terms of its known resources, it has unknown potential resources and it has indefinite geopolitical value. As we march towards an energy crisis, the insolation resource value of that land (for solar energy production) is also increasing. I can’t imagine the Egyptians being unwise enough to part with something of enduring value.

    “And in what way are the Palestinians more of a problem people than say, the Jews, or the Americans, or any other people ..”

    They probably aren’t. Those other people proved problematic enough to make anyone wary of introducing large swathes of a different people.

    Mark my words, the Palestinians will be shepherded and contained in Gaza until there is no benefit remaining in the obstruction of their aspiration for proper statehood. The conflict (I know most people don’t agree with this) is entirely due to Israel’s desire to prevent statehood in order to allow for their exploitation of the Palestinian’s share of energy resources in the Levantin Basin.

    If for no other reason than having an interesting read, please look at the links I posted regarding this. Googling will obviously yield more and perhaps more revealing details that support this theory and how it fits in with a much larger theoretical framework that explains the political dynamics of MENA.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The conflict (I know most people don’t agree with this) is entirely due to Israel’s desire to prevent statehood in order to allow for their exploitation of the Palestinian’s share of energy resources in the Levantin Basin.

    I don’t disagree completely, but the pattern predates the discovery, or even the suspicion of hydrocarbons in the Levant. I don’t think, despite the ‘peace’ charades scripted – and the abandoned abruptly – to suggest otherwise, that there has ever been an Israeli consensus on a Palestinian state: Rabin was murdered for getting too close to the concept.

    Otherwise, yes, I think that’s the way it’s intended to go, and there’s not much anyone can do about it. Sinai? I don’t think so. The US is paying Egypt, as long as it’s run by compliant goons like Sisi, nearly as much money as it gives Israel; for the sole purpose of keeping those nasty Gazans walled up in their prison. And Egypt needs the money, unlike Israel. It’s not going to invite the Pals to come and live next door, in an area which has its fair share of peri-Islamist extremists already.

  • Jemand

    Thanks for the comment, BZ. I think that motives have shifted over time with changing agendas, as they often do, and in this case new information regarding exploitable resources.

    Historically, the inevitable conflict between cultures and political agendas created many turbulent developments that divided the these two peoples.

    So you can well imagine that if Israel discovered vast energy reserves in the Mediterranean Sea, they would be very reluctant to play fair with the Palestinians to whatever extent the Pals might have a share. And it might explain some of the extraordinary incidents that have occurred over the last 20-30 years. That would be a good line of enquiry for an enthusiastic researcher.

  • Jemand

    ++

    The Rabin assassination is interesting in relation to this theory. Was he aware of the energy resources or of an active exploration program? If not, then he might have been more amenable to settling the matter with the Pals. Those who were in a better position to know of these discoveries might have been troubled by his movement to a settlement.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    He may have been aware of an exploration program. But it was essentially unsuccessful until the time of his assassination, and for years afterwards. Even then, around 1999, only small gas fields had been found offshore. The big discoveries were Tamar (2009) and Leviathan (2010) – these were big enough to impact the politics of the region:

    http://jcpa.org/article/the-geopolitics-of-israels-offshore-gas-reserves/

    Note that this is an Israeli production, and, as usual, both self-promoting and paranoid about Iran. Stripped of the politics, it makes sense, though.

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