The policy that Israel has decided to take to ignore the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the proper tactic, according to Attorney Nitsana Darshan Leitner, President of Shurat Hadin.
“It’s a good policy. Israel does not have a choice in this matter,” said Leitner in an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva.
Last month the ICC sent Israel and the Palestinian Authority a formal notice giving them a month to receive a deferral by carrying out their own investigations or be the subject of an ICC war crimes investigation.
She called the ICC, “at the end of the day a political organization” that is very biased against Israel.
If Israel agreed to the ICC investigation, it would be forced to abide by the court’s findings.
Responding to the question of whether the ICC could point to Israel’s non-participation as evidence that it has something to hide, Leitner said that is where her organization comes in to stand up for Israel at the court.
“We’ll manage the war but not on behalf of the State of Israel,” she said.
Shurat Hadin is an NGO dedicated to using international courts of law to protect Israel by defending it against lawfare suits, academic and economic boycotts, and those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish State.
They plan on “flooding” the ICC with evidence, going all the way back to 2002, of crimes against humanity committed by not only Hamas but by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Israelis, such as suicide bombings, ambushes and thousands of missiles and rockets fired from Gaza and PA areas of Judea and Samaria.
The ICC will have no choice but to investigate the huge amount of evidence of Palestinian terror incidents Shurat Hadin will present, and not just the evidence dating back to 2014 presented by the PA.
“Maybe by flooding the court, the court itself will be deterred and also we’ll deter the PA itself,” she said, noting that the scope of the ICC investigation only goes as far as Hamas, but ignores crimes against humanity committed or encourage by the PA, which the ICC has given de facto immunity in the investigation.
She explained that the elite leaders of the PA were the ones that brought the case to the ICC, with the expectation that it would only go as far as investigating Hamas, and would focus most of its attention on Israel, due to its anti-Israel bias.
One of the most successful ways in which Shurat Hadin has gone after terrorist organizations is to cut off their source of money. So far, they have won $2 billion in judgments and were able to collect $300 million from terror groups. These cases are filed on behalf of victims of terrorism who receive the monetary compensation.
For instance, third party leans were placed on assets, bank accounts and properties owned by the Iranian regime outside Iran. Also, assets such as stock portfolios are frozen by courts and used for dispensing monetary judgments. Similarly, the tax money collected by Israel on behalf of the PA has been awarded in cases as well.
In many instances, banks who hold the funds in question do not want to go to court and settle on a compromise judgment.
Even the PA has compromised in the past to avoid going to court, Leitner said.
“They have their back to the wall and they don’t have a choice,” she added.
While Shurat Hadin’s work does not deter terror organizations directly, it does cut off their ability to access money from banks.
Because of their work, many banks no longer agree to provide money to designated terrorist groups or charities identifying with terrorist groups or operating in war zones controlled by terror organizations, such as Gaza or South Lebanon.
“Here is a huge obstacle for the terror organizations who control these areas to receive money,” she explained. “Money is oxygen for terrorism. If you stop the flow of the money, you can stop (the terrorism).”
When asked about Jonathan Pollard and his current life in Israel, Leitner said that she was overjoyed to see him come home to the Jewish State.
“He’s a celebrity whether he likes it or not,” she said, noting his recent visibility, and the camera people following him around wherever he goes in public.
She said that he is adjusting well to his new life. “G-d willing, (Pollard and his wife Esther) will live long, long years and we’ll be able to see him all over the country.”