(May 20) The International Criminal Court again is proving itself a misbegotten menace, indeed an illegitimate body, as its top prosecutor, Karim Khan, seeks an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Actually, the two assertions here are separate, although the first helps demonstrate the second. First, the idea of warrants for the Israeli officials is outrageous. Second, even if it weren’t seeking to arrest the Israelis, the ICC is illegitimate in concept and design.

As for Khan’s request for warrants, it also includes ones for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and two other top Hamas officials. The simultaneous warrant requests apparently are supposed to indicate how neutral and evenhanded the ICC’s team is. Instead, the purported “balance” is offensive. It essentially puts a terrorist group on the same moral and legal plane as the fairly elected leader of a genuinely representative democracy. It all but directly equates the deliberate targeting and torturing of innocent civilians during an unprovoked act of terrorism, on the one hand, with, on the other hand, the “just war” response of the injured party, one that goes out of its way to warn civilians of impending military action and to help provide escape corridors for their safe passage.

Moreover, the specific accusations Khan made against the two Israeli officials are demonstrably false. He told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Israelis are guilty of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict. … The fact that Hamas fighters need water doesn’t justify denying water from all the civilian population of Gaza.”

Every part of that statement is wrong. Rather than practicing “extermination” and “deliberately targeting civilians in conflict,” Israel has gone to extraordinary lengths to limit civilian casualties so that its operations actually have caused a lower ratio of civilian to military deaths than in almost every other example of urban warfare in the past 100 years. This is even more remarkable considering that Hamas deliberately uses civilians as human shields and runs terrorist operations from facilities underneath hospitals….

Apart from the specifics, though, the ICC itself is illegitimate, both in these particulars and in general. It specifically has no jurisdiction over Israel or the U.S. because neither is a signatory to the treaty creating it. Second, the very concept of “international law” is highly problematic. … [The full column is at this link.]

 

 

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