Abbas, the ICC, Michael Oren and April Fool’s Day

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

A news report has appeared featuring Israel's former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren (Moshe Cohen, "Michael Oren: PA in the ICC a 'Strategic Threat' to Israel", Arutz Sheva, April 2, 2015). Oren is concerned that the PA's entrance into the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be "a strategic threat against Israel, in the form of international boycotts and sanctions" (ibid). On one level, he's correct--but then, maybe not.

Here's an  essay about Abbas and the ICC. It appeared yesterday at the tuviabrodie blog. its appearance here is updated:

On April 1, 2015, the non-state of ‘Palestine’ officially joined the International Criminal Court (ICC). This means that the Palestinian Authority (PA) can now attempt to sue leaders of Israel for war crimes Israel has allegedly committed against ‘Palestine’. Abbas has been pursuing this membership as an integral part of his bid for international recognition for his ‘Palestine’. He hasn’t as yet achieved his first goal, UN recognition as a state. But he has achieved his second goal, enrolment in the ICC.

Abbas’ goal for statehood hasn’t been to create a functioning, viable state. We know that’s the case because he hasn’t been working to create a viable state since his original 2011 bid for statehood at the UN. Instead, virtually everything he does focuses on one goal: to expand his war against Israel so that, step by step, he strangles Israel.

One important step is ‘lawfare’—the use of the law to wage war against an enemy. Now that he’s a member of the ICC club, Abbas can use this part of the international stage to do more than simply condemn Israel. He can criminalize Israel in Court. In theory at least, he could seek to get Israel ‘convicted’ in Court.

Could that hurt Israel? No one knows. But Abbas is an optimist. He knows that the more hits Israel takes, the greater will be the chance that one of those hits will kill.

For Abbas, killing Israel won’t be done through a frontal assault. Israel is too strong for that.

Instead, Abbas attempts to kill Israel in a 'war of 1,000 cuts'. Israel's death will come slowly, step-by-step and cut by cut. Lawfare is a one of those cuts.

Fortunately for Israel, it’s not a member of the ICC. It never joined. Because of its non-member status, it isn’t obligated (in theory) to cooperate with the Court if it’s sued.

Abbas doesn’t care. As a non-state, the PA wasn’t eligible to join the ICC in the first place—but the ICC made an exception for it.

Exceptions have been a way of life for Abbas. The International community has treated ‘Palestinians’ with 'exceptional' favouritism. He understands ‘exceptions’. Getting them is his speciality.

That’s why he’s confident. Based on experience, he should expect a favourable reception at the ICC. So far, he has.

He’s the world’s beloved. He can do as he pleases—especially if it involves attacking Israel.

He can do that because Israel isn’t beloved. It’s vilified.

Abbas knows how the EU and the UN demonize and condemn Israel. For example, he knows that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)  has condemned Israel almost more times that all other nations combined (“Why are the UN and the West so obsessed with condemning Israel when real genocides are happening in many countries?”, Quora, January 21, 2015).

Abbas-the-world’s-beloved wants to attack Israel-the-world’s-brute. That’s his goal, and his ICC membership appears to make sense. That membership is pregnant with possibility for him. It’s like getting a free kick in an international soccer match: when he steps up, no one opposes him.

Through the ICC, his chances to unmake Israel improve. Now, through the law, he has a pathway for isolating Israel. The odds favour him. Each year, he has moved closer to getting Israel excommunicated from the family of nations. Now, ICC action could be the key to Israel’s end just as other UN action once ended South Africa’s white-only rule.

But then, we remember that yesterday was April Fool’s Day. Is it coincidence that Abbas’ ICC membership occurs on this day of silliness?

The two occurrences (ICC membership and April Fool's Day) might be connected. It’s possible that the PA’s acceptance into the ICC will prove to be nothing more than a cruel joke that will hurt—not help—the ‘Palestinian cause’.

How so?

You may laugh at this, but if Abbas is the world's beloved, you must remember that Israel is G-d's beloved.

You think that's laughable?

Stay tuned.