PA Requests ICC Probe Israeli Crimes in the Occupied Territories
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Since the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective in July 2002, victims of Western and Israeli imperialism alone were prosecuted - never the perpetrators.
Around two-thirds of world nations are ICC members, not America or Israel. Still, their nationals can be tried by the court - in absentia if unable to bring them to the Hague.
The 2002 American Service Members' Protection Act (ASPA, aka Hague Invasion Act) "protect(s) United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international court to which the United States is not party."
It authorizes the president to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court."
Decades of US high crimes are well documented, its officials never held accountable. Nor have their counterparts in other NATO countries and Israel.
The ICC is a notorious imperial tool. In 2012, it rejected the PA's request to investigate Israeli criminality during its December 2008/January 2009 Cast Led aggression - despite indisputable evidence of its high crimes of war and against humanity.
In 2015, the ICC began a "preliminary examination" short of an official investigation into Israeli war crimes.
It covered violations "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014" - focusing on Israel's 2014 summer Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge.
It was strictly procedural. Nothing came of it. Last September, four Palestinian human rights groups submitted extensive documentation of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity to the ICC - in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
They urged ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to "urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory," calling it a "necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable."
Israeli high crimes cited included "willful killing, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, unlawful deportation or transfer, transfer by the occupying power of its civilian population into occupied territory, pillaging of a town/place, destroying or seizing the enemy's property."
In response, the ICC merely said it would analyze the submitted materials. Once a decision on them was reached, senders would be notified. No action was taken so far, none likely.
On Tuesday, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki met with ICC chief prosecutor Bensouda, calling on her to immediately open an investigation into Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against the Palestinian people - along with its illegal apartheid rule and killings of "unarmed protestors in the Gaza Strip."
In its submission to the ICC, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Israeli settlements on stolen land are "the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives, livelihoods, and national rights," adding:
"Israel maintains, expands, and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people."
It's guilty of "illegal exploitation of natural resources, as well as the brutal and calculated targeting of unarmed protesters, particularly in the Gaza Strip."
Decades of Israeli ruthlessness is indisputable. Throughout its 70-year history, nothing was ever done to hold its officials accountable for high crimes too egregious to ignore.
It's highly unlikely the ICC will break longstanding tradition by going where no tribunal or other entity ever went before - not against Israel or any Western officials.
If the ICC ever goes this far one day, acting responsibly, it's one thing to prosecute and convict, quite another to place guilty parties behind bars for their high crimes.
It never happened before, won't ahead as long as nations where guilty parties reside prevent it - justice denied like always.


Israel Demands the Right to Brutalize Palestinians with Impunity
by Stephen Lendman
Israel mistreats Palestinians ruthlessly. It's been going on this way for decades, unchallenged by the world community. Its ruling regimes claim appalling high crimes constitute self-defense.
The country's only enemies are invented ones, no others. When Palestinians demonstrate peacefully or defend themselves from Israeli ruthlessness, they're called terrorists or accused of incitement.
Ron Dermer is Israel's ambassador to Washington Post, representing Netanyahu's Ziofascist extremism.
The neocon/CIA house organ Washington disgracefully gave him feature op-ed space to lie - despicably headlining "Stop demonizing Israel for defending itself," saying:
"Hand it to Hamas. As this week's events in Gaza showed, the terrorist organization committed to Israel's destruction can still manipulate the media into demonizing Israel for the legitimate actions it takes to defend itself."
Fact: Hamas isn't a terrorist organization. State terrorism defines Israeli ruthlessness.
Fact: Murder, brutality, holding two million Gazans hostage under concentration camp conditions, and other ruthless actions don't constitute self-defense.
Fact: Mistreating Palestinians the way Hitler brutalized Jews demands demonization, along with tough actions to change things.
Fact: Run by Ziofascist lunatics, Israel isn't a normal country. It's an Arab-hating rogue state - at war on Palestinians without declaring it.
Dermer sounds like a modern-day version of Joseph Goebbels. Here's more of his hateful rhetoric:
"Hamas's four-step formula for success is by now familiar. First, get a media that is largely hostile toward Israel, simply ignorant or both to ignore Hamas's genocidal goals and excuse its terrorism."
"Second, put Palestinian civilians in harm's way. Third, force Israel, while defending itself, to kill some of those civilians. Fourth, rely on that same hostile and ignorant media to blame Israel for these deaths."
Fact: Media scoundrels one-sidedly support Israel, remaining largely silent in response to Israeli state terror against Palestinians at all times, most recently against Gazans since Great March of Return protests began March 30.
Media criticism followed the pre-Nakba Day massacre - too little, too late to matter, Israel remaining unaccountable for its high crimes, assuring more of the same like always.
Since March 30, countless thousands of Gazans, including entire families, demonstrated peacefully against blockade ruthlessness - enforced solely for political reasons, the world community doing nothing to end what's too intolerable to accept.
Dermer is a liar. All of his above remarks turned truth on its head - blaming defenseless Palestinians for the Netanyahu regime's high crimes, unrelated to self-defense.
In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine, taking the rest in 1967 - illegal, brutalizing occupation continuing for over half a century, stealing more Palestinian land with each new settlement unit constructed for exclusive Jewish use.
Over 800,000 settlers live on land stolen from their indigenous inhabitants, a high crime against humanity gone unpunished all these years - with no prospect of accountability coming.
A US/Israeli conspiracy prevents it, supported by world community's failure to condemn it, along with not acting to end what never should have been tolerated since UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour's declaration in a 67-word letter to British Zionist Federation's Lord Rothschild.
Balfour's call for establishing a nation for Jews (on stolen Palestinian land) was a high crime against humanity.
Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians - over 100 years of suffering, no end of it in sight, the world community dismissive of their rights, supporting Israel at their expense.
Today, over 90% of Palestinians are confined to around 10% of their historic homeland - one of history's great crimes, over 100 years of unaccountability, an entire people suffering under apartheid viciousness, far worse than earlier South African governance.
Israel controls virtually all aspects of Palestinian life, at its worst in blockaded Gaza - robbing an entire people of their political, economic, religious and cultural rights, brutalized under military occupation.
Oslo was betrayal, a Palestinian Versailles, the so-called peace process a cruel ruse, self-determination out of the question entirely - prohibited by Washington and Israel despite claiming otherwise.
Palestinians are increasingly isolated in ghettoized enclaves, enduring horrific conditions in blockaded Gaza unfit for human habitation.
Trump's so-called peace plan is status quo occupation viciousness with a face lift, creating the false impression of something different.
Most of its details were leaked earlier, discussed in earlier articles, revisions perhaps following earlier versions, the scheme to be publicly announced in mid-to-late June, according to reports - excluding East Jerusalem as Palestine's exclusive capital, alone assuring the plan's unacceptability.
The only equitable solution today is one land for all its people, assuring equal rights for all, diaspora Palestinians allowed to return - two states no longer viable with Israel controlling virtually all of historic Palestine, directly or through PA proxies serving its interests.
Israeli apartheid viciousness won't end on its own. It has to be pushed by committed, sustained activism, BDS one part of it.
A whole lot more is needed by Palestinians and their supporters worldwide, refusing to accept the unacceptable, demanding it end, putting time and energy into pursuing long denied justice.
Dermer is part of the problem, a mouthpiece for Israeli ruthlessness.
Ending occupation harshness demands universal support. It won't end by wishing it - longterm committed resistance the only way.



S Envoy David Friedman Poses with Photo Image Showing Jewish Temple Replacing Al-Aqsa
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Notorious Zionist ideologue David Friedman is Trump's ambassador to Israel, a disturbing choice when announced.
He one-sidedly supports Israeli apartheid rule, its lawless settlement expansions on stolen Palestinian land.
He's dismissive about Palestinian self-determination, earlier saying "(n)obody really knows how many Palestinians live there."
Including refugees and diaspora ones, their numbers about equal Israel's Jewish population, heading toward becoming a majority.
Earlier asked about Palestinian statehood, he said "not without the approval of the Israelis. This is an issue that Israel has to deal with on its own because it will have to deal with the consequences."
He's an Islamophobe right-wing extremist, a despicable character, opposed to a just peace, favoring Israeli control over Palestinian lives and welfare, dismissive of their rights.
Earlier he served as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organization involved in raising millions of dollars annually for the orthodox settlement by that name near Jerusalem - on stolen Palestinian land.
Shamefully calling Israel a robust democracy, he earlier said its officials "have to make the decision on whether or not to give up land to create a Palestinian state," adding:
It's not an "American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state."
Trump "feel(s) no pressure to make self-defeating concessions" to Palestinians. "America and Israel will enjoy unprecedented military and strategic cooperation, and there will be no daylight between the two countries."
Commenting on Trump's Jerusalem declaration, he called moving Washington' embassy to the international city a "beautiful and uplifting event" - showing utter contempt for world community public opinion and Palestinian rights he doesn't give a damn about.
He mocked the deaths of massacred Gazans, disgracefully calling long-suffering/defenseless human beings demonstrating peaceful for their rights "known Hamas terrorists" - a despicable, insensitive Big Lie.
On Tuesday, Friedman posed next to a computer-generated image given him, showing a third Jewish temple instead of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem's Old City.
He was given the photo during his visit to Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv - hosted by the ultra-Orthodox Achiya organization.
The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) tweeted: "What's missing in this photo of Jerusalem that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is looking at?"
"The Dome of the Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque. Removing the Islamic holy sites is a long-term goal of far-right Israeli Jewish extremists who want to erase Palestinians from Jerusalem."
A US Jerusalem embassy explanation of the incident rang hollow, saying Friedman "was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken."
"He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy."
He has two eyes apparently working well. He certainly viewed the image shown him before posing with it all smiles.
Hardline Israeli extremists long sought replacing Al-Aqsa with a third Jewish temple. MK Oren Hazan earlier pledged to destroy Al-Aqsa, saying:
"It would not be responsible at this point in time to tell you how we would do it, but I will say it clear and loud, when I have the opportunity to do it, I will."
His extremism is shared by a good many other Israeli hardliners - perhaps Friedman as well without publicly admitting it.