The ICC obscene accusations against Israel

Equating Israel with Hamas, the ICC’s actions are morally outrageous.

Equating Israel with Hamas, the ICC’s actions are morally outrageous.

Karim Khan, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), announced he’s seeking warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and for three senior Hamas leaders, effectively creating a false equivalency between Israel and Hamas.

Placing Israel’s democratically elected leaders on the same level as some of the worst human rights abusers and mass killers on the planet is outrageous. It’s as if Khan issued warrants for the arrest of both Osama bin Laden and President George W. Bush immediately after the September 11 attacks. It’s like calling for the arrest of Adolf Hitler along with Winston Churchill.

The ICC’s stunt is a brazen inversion of the truth. It isolates Israel on the world stage and emboldens its enemies. Khan has charged Israel’s leaders with “starvation of civilians, a method of warfare as a war crime,” “extermination and/or murder,” “persecution,” “other inhumane acts,” “willful killing,” and “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.” Huh?

Let’s start with the charge of using starvation as a method of war, which features so centrally in Khan’s malicious accusations. According to The Wall Street Journal, since October 7, 2023, Israel has overseen the supply of 542,570 tons of aid into Gaza, in 28,255 trucks, in a massive, unprecedented effort to supply food to Gaza civilians. Israel has also appealed to Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, which links Egypt to Gaza, for use by aid trucks; Egypt has refused. The WSJ asks: Is this the behavior of an Israeli government bent on starving Gazans?

The major factor in the rise in hunger in Gaza is due to the wide scale theft and looting by Hamas. An April report by The New York Times revealed that hunger in Gaza isn’t caused by a lack of food, but by exorbitant prices charged by Hamas and other criminals who steal food aid.

In fact, the very day that Khan announced he’s seeking the arrest of Israeli leaders, the US State Department announced that none of the food aid it has delivered via the $320 million pier the US built in Gaza has been distributed to actual Gazans. Instead, food has been looted and stolen, presumably by Hamas, whose members continue to control much of Gaza with an iron fist.

Khan’s outrageous charges of “extermination” and “willful killing” and “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population” are patently false.

Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history — above and beyond what international law requires and more than the US did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. — Maj. John Spencer

Maj. John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, notes, “In their criticism, Israel’s opponents are erasing a remarkable, historic new standard Israel has set. In my long career studying and advising on urban warfare for the U.S. military, I have never known an army to take such measures to attend to the enemy’s civilian population, especially while simultaneously combating the enemy in the very same building.”

“In fact,” Maj. Spencer continues, “by my analysis, Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history — above and beyond what international law requires and more than the U.S. did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (I urge you to read Maj. Spencer’s comments in Newsweek from which these quotes are taken, in full.)

Moreover, Israel is battling Hamas, an entity that deliberately embeds its fighters in civilian centres, uses hospitals as army depots, puts weapons inside mosques, and views the people of Gaza as so many human shields. A major NATO report issued in 2014 described this strategy, providing eyewitness proof of Hamas “firing rockets, artillery, and mortars from or in proximity to heavily populated civilian areas… (e.g. Schools, hospitals, or mosques).”

NATO also described Hamas’ cynical attempt to maximise human death tolls in the case of any Israeli attack in order to bring criticism down on Israel and to increase sympathy for Hamas. “Hamas relies on the Israeli government’s aim to minimise collateral damage, and is also aware of the West’s sensitivity towards civilian casualties. Hamas’ use of human shields is, therefore,…aimed at gaining diplomatic and public opinion-related leverage, by presenting Israel and the IDF as an aggressor that indiscriminately strikes civilians.”

A February 2024 letter by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar to Hamas members abroad stated this goal plainly, describing increasing civilian casualties in Gaza as a win-win situation for Hamas, fomenting ever more criticism of Israel.

Khan is blaming Israel for a humanitarian crisis in Gaza that is entirely Hamas’ own making. In fact, it seems that Khan did no fact-checking on the ground at all. Though he visited Israel and interviewed Israeli survivors of Hamas’ October 7 massacre as part of the case he’s building against (only) three of Hamas’ leaders, Khan has said that he hasn’t visited Gaza since October 7.

The ICC ought to be lauding Israel’s attempts to fight a vicious enemy while sparing a civilian population that Hamas is deliberately putting in harm’s way. The ICC ought to be seeking arrest warrants for the entire leadership of Hamas around the world. By charging Israel and equating them with a savage terrorist organisation, the ICC ultimately tarnishing its own standing in the world and revealing its antisemitic bias.

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