Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How a Court Pushed Israel and the United States into Meltdown

What is it about the International Criminal Court that has so inflamed Israel and the United States?  It's a court of law and a pretty good one at that.  It's a venue to prosecute those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Who would be bothered by that - except perhaps war criminals and those who commit crimes against humanity?  Oh, I get it.

Israel is afraid that its war crimes in Gaza will come before the ICC where Israel won't be able to control the narrative and manipulate the press and public opinion.  The United States fears for what that could mean to Israel.  The US doesn't hold a veto over the International Criminal Court so it can't protect Israel as it has for decades on the UN Security Council.  Washington is used to being able to simply nullify any effective intervention by the United Nations.  Can't do that with the ICC which is one reason the US hasn't joined the court.  It can't. Too many presidents and cabinet secretaries might find themselves in the prisoner's dock.

So what is America's response to the audacity of the Palestinians in joining the community of nations through the International Criminal Court?  They're going to cut off American aid to Palestine and the Republicans who now control both houses of Congress will push that through.

[Lindsey] Graham, the chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that governs aid to Palestine, said Israeli officials are no longer opposed to efforts to chip away at the roughly $400 million of aid the United States sends to Palestine every year — a policy change he plans to capitalize on.

“I’m going to lead the charge to make sure the Palestinians feel this,” he said.

Others on Capitol Hill feel similarly emboldened.

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation to prohibit all assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it withdraws its request to join the International Criminal Court. “Certainly groups that threaten Israel cannot be allies of the U.S.,” said Paul. The United Nations has confirmed that the Palestinians will become part of the criminal court in April.

Brian Darling, a spokesman for the libertarian-leaning Republican, said his office hasn’t received any pushback on the legislation, a shift from just last spring when the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Likud-flavored lobbying organization with close ties to the Netanyahu government, immediately came out against his previous bill to defund the PA.

On Monday, Haaretz reported that Jerusalem would be contacting pro-Israel members of Congress to ensure that aid to the PA is cut off. While pro-Israel lawmakers such as Graham, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) told FP they’re not aware of an overt push by the Israelis to defund, the understanding is that Jerusalem will no longer actively protect Palestinian aid on the Hill.

Maybe it's time for another benefactor, China perhaps, to step up and provide the aid America cuts.  China could easily stare down an Israeli naval blockade.  It's time to break this poisonous American hegemony.


Lorne said...

It is hard to draw anything but the most logical of conclusions here, Mound: the corruption of any morality in policy decisions in favour of vote-getting expedience. That is true not only in the U.S., of course, but also in Harper's Canada.

The Mound of Sound said...

Don't forget, Lorne, that both Trudeau, in lockstep with his predecessor Ignatieff, and (initially) Mulcair backed Israel's Dahiyeh in Gaza. Mulcair only changed his tune afterward when he saw the political consequence barreling down on him.

Steve said...

You can only keep some issues swept neatly under the carpet for so long. Sooner or later somone is going to trip over the mess and demand an explanation. For example, does Islamic Terrrorism exist because "they hate freedom" or is it part of state sponsered proxy wars?
Rulers fear the rule of law mnore than anything. Because no one is above the law,right? Well maybe some leaders are beside it, and on top of it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting questions, Steve. I just finished a report in The Independent about English radical Muslim leader Anjem Choudary believed to be a recruiter for ISIS. He's a pretty provocative guy who praises the 9/11 attackers and other Muslim terrorists. He defended yesterday's attacks by claiming there is no room for freedom of expression in Islam. How that excuses the butchery isn't apparent but I found this jerk's remarks quite inflammatory and I try to avoid "hot button" reactions. It struck me that he was making the argument that fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with Western liberal democratic values. Why then do Chaudary and his type choose to remain in places like Britain?

A lot of what has gone on going back well before 9/11 and as far back as the Russian fiasco in Afghanistan has been sponsored by princes and other prominent Arabs from countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait - places we still treat as our friends and allies.