Op-Ed: Is John Kerry to Blame?
Dr. Moshe DannMoshe Dann is a writer and journalist with a Ph.d in history, who lives in Jerusalem.
As long as the ICRC is not challenged it can hide behind its exclusive position and continue to undermine Israel.
For more than four decades the International Committee of the Red Cross has promoted the canard that Jewish communities (“settlements”) in areas which the IDF conquered in 1967 are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and, therefore, are illegal under international law.
Because the ICRC is the official “guardian” of the Convention, their word is considered “law.”
Despite excellent arguments against the ICRC’s decision, the ICRC’s position prevails; it’s their privilege. They claim complete and sole authority to decide what the Convention means. Their decisions are the basis for condemning Israel’s “occupation of Palestinian territory,” or “OPT.”
The use of this term means that Israel and Jews have stolen land which does not belong to them. It is not a matter for negotiation.
Challenged to provide an explanation for their position, the ICRC has refused. Since their protocols are closed, there is no way of knowing who made the decision and on what basis. Without revealing the process and procedures by which they came to their decision, therefore, ICRC decisions cannot be considered “law,” since just laws require a fair evaluation of all arguments. Presumably, that never happened.
When US Secretary of State John Kerry says, “settlements are illegitimate,” he is only stating widely held US and international policy – which rests on the ICRC’s decision.
No think-tank or institute, however, has been willing to challenge the ICRC’s authority – and therefore its interpretation of the Convention – condemning Israeli settlements. The Israeli government has also been unwilling to challenge the ICRC.
As long as the ICRC is not challenged it can hide behind its exclusive position and continue to undermine Israel. And, as long as the Israel government refuses to confront the ICRC, why should anyone be upset about what Kerry or his boss says?
Without confronting the basis for condemning Israeli settlements -- ICRC interpretations – defending Israel’s rights is severely limited and will ultimately fail.
As long as the ICRC decides the rules of the game and favors one side over another, Israel will lose. Arguing about the details of a play is irrelevant when the umpire/referee has already decided who will win.
Confronting the ICRC , therefore, is the essential prerequisite for changing world opinion. It is at least as crucial as the struggle to stop the Iranian nuclear threat, since that threat is only potential, while the ICRC’s biased opinions wound Israel every day.
Refusing to engage this issue strengthens Israel’s enemies. It can be stopped by inviting the ICRC to explain its decisions in an open forum. That no one is willing to provide the opportunity for public debate has allowed the ICRC to triumph, with many more John Kerrys to lend a hand.