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Don’t politicize the World Court just to trash Israel

An Op-ed by Andrew Tucker, Gregory Rose and David Benger in 'The Hill'
Don’t politicize the World Court just to trash Israel

This forms part of a polarizing pattern at the UN of disinformation, demonization of Jews, and delegitimization of the sole Jewish state. The request for an ICJ opinion on hinges on Israel’s “prolonged occupation” of “Palestinian territory” and alleged discrimination. The same ideological faction had the General Assembly host “Nakba Day” (“Catastrophe Day”) on May 15, the anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. 

The PLO does not come to the court with clean hands. Its request to the ICJ is, ironically, another step in its decades-old lawfare strategy to shirk its own legal obligations to seek peaceful compromise.

Despite the promises made by Yasser Arafat in 1993, the PLO has never amended its charter, which calls for violence to “liberate” all of “Palestine” from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea — in other words, to eradicate Israel. And there is scarcely any reason to hope that the organization has changed since the signature act of terrorism by one of its factions, the 1972 slaughter of Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich.

As recently as last month, when Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terror groups rained hundreds of rockets on Israeli homes for days, the PLO and the PA accused Israel of terrorism rather than condemn the attacks. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority itself continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to incentivize acts of terror through its “pay-for-slay” policy.

First, the ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear this case, because the General Assembly had no right to request the opinion. Under Article 12 of the UN Charter, only the UN Security Council can make such a request, as this dispute is assigned to it exclusively.

Second, the resolution completely ignores and in fact undermines the Oslo Accords, which the General Assembly endorsed a quarter century ago when they were brokered by President Bill Clinton and signed voluntarily by the Palestinian and Israeli leadership.

The Oslo Accords state that, until a final agreement is reached by Israelis and Palestinians, Israel is entitled to maintain a military government and civil administration in the West Bank. They also specify that key issues, including settlements, borders, and the status of Jerusalem, are subject to negotiation between the two parties. Finally, the accords condition Palestinian self-determination upon “direct, free and general political elections,” whereas in fact the Palestinian Authority has not allowed an election in nearly two decades. Mahmoud Abbas is currently in the 18th year of his four-year presidential term.

Third, the resolution requesting the ICJ opinion is full of factual allegations that are simply untrue, and which the ICJ does not have the capacity to interrogate in any case. For example, the resolution presumes that Israel has taken “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.” The ICJ has no investigators to examine the veracity of such an assumed “fact,” whose uncritical acceptance would undermine fundamental principles of the rule of law.

Israel’s defense forces protect its citizens from ceaseless barrages of rockets and terror attacks. But in New York and The Hague, Israel must depend on other countries to speak out in its defense.

Those countries that truly value the UN system will make submissions to the UN court, urging it not to give politicized sanctions advice. They have until July 25 to do so.

They might also urge that the PLO to return to the table to negotiate peace, in the spirit of the UN charter’s values.

Andrew Tucker is director of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation, where Gregory Rose, a professor of law at the University of Wollongong, Australia, is director of research. David Benger is a research fellow at Emory University.

This article was priorly published in ‘The Hill’ – click >> here <<

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