04 Sep Israel Would View ICC Investigation as “War” by the PA
A February 2010 cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department concerning a discussion with the IDF’s Military Advocate General about the Palestinian Authority’s request for the ICC to investigate Operation Cast Lead contains the following remarkable paragraph (emphasis added):
Summary: IDF Military Advocate General Mandelblit updated the Ambassador on February 17 on the progress of investigations into allegations of misconduct during Operation Cast Lead, including providing a preview of additional findings to be published before the March 24 Human Rights Council meeting. Mandelblit noted concern with the Palestinian Authority’s effort to undermine Israel through the International Criminal Court and hoped the U.S. would weigh in with both the PA and the ICC, and publicly state our view of the ICC’s lack of jurisdiction. He warned that PA pursuit of Israel through the ICC would be viewed as war by the GOI. No decision had been made regarding an independent commission to review the IDF investigations. Mandelblit noted what he viewed as the lack of political and popular will to initiate such an inquiry at this time, and suggested that given differences of opinion within the government, the question would be held in abeyance as his investigation progressed. End Summary.
I’m on record as being categorically opposed to the ICC investigating the situation in Gaza, because Palestine is not (yet) a state and is thus not entitled to accept the Court’s declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute. But the cable is still disturbing and indefensible. What will Israel’s response be to this “war” declared on it by the PA? Will it use military force against the Palestinians (again)? Will it attack Moreno-Ocampo and the rest of the staff in the OTP to prevent them from “undermining” Israel by investigating its potential war crimes? (Along with Hamas’s potential war crimes, of course; the ICC investigates situations, not parties to a conflict.)
Describing the use of international institutions to vindicate basic human rights as “lawfare” is bad enough. Describing it as actual “war” is appalling.