ICC in Hague
ICC in HagueReuters

Recently, 72 countries, among them traditional US allies such as France, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain, denounced the United States at the United Nations for sanctioning two ICC officials. However, this recent announcement condemning the United States for sanctioning two officials from the International Criminal Court is uncalled for in light of the fact that the ICC has not behaved in a manner that entitles it to be referred to as an “independent judiciary.”

After all, the International Criminal Court is prepared to prosecute Israel over its self-defense during Operation Cast Lead and for building Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The fact that they are doing this has led to the PA recently announcing that the ICC should probe Israel for “executing” terrorists.

At the same time, they are ignoring some of the world’s worst human rights abusers:

-Manel Msalmi, an international affairs advisor to the European Parliament, noted that recently the Islamic Republic of Iran “kidnapped Habib Asyoud, the former head of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al Ahwaz” from Turkish territory.

-The Islamic Republic of Iran funds the relocation of Persian settlers to Al Ahwaz as a means of displacing the indigenous Arab inhabitants of the area.

-Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, remarked: “For 11 years, Syria’s crimes against civilians alongside Iran’s crimes against the Syrian, Iraqi, Yemenite, Lebanese and even the Iranian people has been ignored. They also ignore Bangladesh, whose government is ethnically cleansing minorities. The Safadi Center in the past has filed a number of appeals to the International Criminal Court related to war crimes in Syria and crimes against humanity in Bangladesh, but we have not received even a minor response from them.”

-The International Criminal Court to date has had nothing to say about the Nagorno-Karabakh war. If they had, then maybe the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia could have been avoided and the situation would have not spiraled out of control up until the recent peace agreement was signed. This conflict could have been solved without any sort of bloodshed, if the ICC was doing its job and had taken action. However, to date, the ICC is completely silent about the arbitrary targeting of civilian infrastructure in the recent fighting, alongside the use of cluster munitions, ballistic missiles, and other weapons against non-military targets.

In contrast, the State of Israel is a democracy that respects minority rights, women’s rights, and human rights. Furthermore, Jewish claims to Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem have been recognized under Article 15 and 16 of the League of Nations Mandate, a fact that was confirmed under Article 80 of the UN Charter.

Hamid Mutashar, Secretary General of the liberal Al Khozab Ahwazi, added: “The establishment of Israel is the liberation of lands that have been usurped, whether by Persians, Arabs and others since the Babylonian captivity till the present. It is not an occupation. The Jews are a people who regained their rights after thousands of years and became a sophisticated, civilized model globally.”

Yet, the ICC is investigating the State of Israel.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, President of Shurat HaDin, otherwise known as the Israel Law Center, noted in a recent webinar that while the ICC is prepared to prosecute the State of Israel, which is not a member of the ICC and has a functioning judiciary as a democratic state, it is not prepared to investigate the Palestinian Authority:

“Our group Shurat HaDin has repeatedly sent communications to the ICC concerning the pay-to-slay policy. It is a program where the PA pays salaries and pensions of those who are convicted of terrorism offenses. We claim that this is an inducement to violence against Israelis.” However, she noted that so far, the ICC has not initiated an investigation into this.

In a Shurat HaDin webinar, former US Senator Joseph Lieberman proclaimed that the ICC “particularly discriminated against rule of law countries. In my opinion, the ICC has become intensely politicized. If you imagine that the UN General Assembly was given judicial authority, that is what the ICC has become. The way it works explains why it works so unfairly. Every country which is a member of the ICC is a party, which chooses personnel set on the court. Many of the members are not democracies and not rule of law countries. They choose judges and prosecutors based upon political horse-betting. The ICC judges and prosecutors answer only to an unelected body, which answers to the members, of whom many are not elected. The ICC’s focus on Israel is clearly unjust and unequal.”

Former Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN Danny Dannon proclaimed: “When you see someone applying double standards against Israel, it is anti-Semitism. I have no problem with criticism but use the same standards that you have of every other nation in the world.”

Safadi concurred: “We usually expect a legal system to be fair and objective, which I cannot attribute to the International Criminal Court at the Hague regarding issues concerning Israel. It is a stain of shame and a disgrace to the world justice system and I demand an International Commission of Inquiry that will examine how the International Criminal Court chases after Israel, yet ignores serious crimes in Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, Iran, Yemen, etc. This proves their hypocrisy and anti-Semitism.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”