THE Palestinians will never forget Friday, Dec 20. On that day, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, announced that it was investigating Israel for alleged war crimes against the Palestinians. The Palestinians were jubilant.
So were the rest of humanity — including some Jews — who are on the side of justice. Somewhere in the jubilant crowd, we are sure, would have been the family of American girl Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003 as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah refugee camp close to the border of Egypt.
The soldier at the wheels ran over Corrie once, and then again. Such is the brutality of Israeli military might.
But the Israeli regime remains unaccountable as always. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal for damages by Corrie’s family.
The Zionist Federation even tried stopping a play depicting this tragedy from being staged. The irony is the Israelis are the very same people who suffered extermination at the hands of the Nazis.
We ask: what could have gone wrong to such people to make them exterminate another so fresh after the Nazi’s genocide of their own kind?
It has taken five years for the ICC to act on the Palestinian request. But Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians is much older. It is older than the forced, violent birth of Israel in 1948.
Writing an op-ed for Al Jazeera on Dec 29, 2016, lawyer and human rights activist Stanley L. Cohen put it thus: “Make no mistake of it, the sum total of Israel's efforts these past 68 years is nothing short of the deliberate infliction upon Palestinians, as a cognisable group, conditions of life and death calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part.” And then this warning: “In the presence of overwhelming evidence of premeditated Israeli genocide, to argue otherwise is to reduce the dark, evil and systematic deeds of Stalin, Kissinger, Pol Pot and the Hutu state to little more than a collection of misunderstood happenstance.” We could not have put it better.
Another irony needs mentioning. When Britain, with the generous help of the United States, manufactured the birth of Israel in 1948, the United Nations passed a General Assembly resolution enacting a legal definition of “genocide”.
Little wonder Cohen labels Israel as “a state built from the marrow of genocide”. The road to The Hague is going to be a long and thorny one for the Palestinians. And for Bensouda, too.
The US had revoked her visa for opening an investigation into American war crimes in Afghanistan. The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned then that America will do everything to prevent the ICC from prosecuting Americans. Pompeo is similarly opposing the ICC decision to prosecute Israel.
Read: the US and Israel are invincible. Where the two fiends — Israel and the US — meet, bigotry isn’t far behind.
Palestinians should not place their hopes too high. Because Israel and the US will make sure the ICC fails. Other powerful nations who have permanent seats in the UN Security Council will do the same when it is their turn to face war crime charges. They must be told: if Bensouda fails, so will international law.