by David Rutz • Washington Free Beacon
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of having a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran for its illicit nuclear weapons program during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
Netanyahu castigated what he called “inaction” by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s atomic watchdog, in the face of Israeli intelligence about Iranian clandestine nuclear work, adding that he would reveal a new finding to the world by Israel in its battle to keep Iran’s nuclear ambitions at bay. Continue reading
by Dimitri K. Simes and Paul J. Saunders • National Interest
One need not admire Benjamin Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin or, for that matter, approve of Israeli or Russian conduct, to see Barack Obama’s recent efforts to punish the two states for what they really are. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s efforts seem directed more at his successor than at any serious U.S. foreign policy objective. The outgoing president’s efforts to tie President-Elect Donald Trump’s hands in both domestic and foreign policy appear particularly un-presidential after his petulant complaints that America should have only one president at a time—a rule he apparently sees as applying in only one direction as he defiantly disregards the deference typically shown to an incoming commander-in-chief.
On Israel, Mr. Obama had to know that America’s abstention in voting on a United Nations Security Council Resolution critical of Israel would neither change Israeli settlement policy nor undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political standing in his country. Continue reading
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Senior Obama administration officials are scrambling to provide explanations after multiple reports, including in the Washington Free Beacon, identified the White House as being a chief architect of a recent United Nations resolution condemning the state of Israel, according to conversations with multiple former and current U.S. officials.
On the heels of the hotly contested resolution, which condemned Israel for building homes in its capital, Jerusalem, senior Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, have been identified as leading the charge to ensure the anti-Israel measure won approval by the U.N. Security Council.
The administration’s denials of this charge broke down during the past several days as multiple reporters confirmed the Obama administration worked behind-the-scenes to help shape and forward the resolution. Continue reading
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval, according to congressional leaders, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the current administration is already plotting to take further action against the Jewish state before vacating office.
Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation both on and off the record.
The Obama administration is still under bipartisan attack for its decision to help craft and facilitate the passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem, a move that reversed years of U.S. policy on the matter. Continue reading
From time immemorial, human beings had been waging war on common sense for one reason or another. This has been especially true for the discombobulated collection of diametrically opposed socialist theories of the 19th and 20th centuries. While their fundamental demand for ubiquitous egalitarianism has appealed to the democratic notion of many individuals, the practical implementations of these theories in the former Soviet Union, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany between the two World Wars, and their less dictatorial incarnations in Western Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America after 1945, have proved the utter impracticality and even grotesque senselessness of purely intellectual governmental coercion.
The tired wind of these failed theories has reached its apex in the United States with the election to the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama in 2008. Hailed by his ideologically blinded followers as superhuman both in intellect and morality, the Obama phenomenon has been an intoxicating mixture of radically different traits. Youthful, yet in his nearly religious cadence seemingly mature, lawyerly and human, realist and dreamer, down to earth and rebellious, desirous of peace and harmony, yet ready to wage war against injustice, he has quickly captured the imagination of the war-weary and economically threatened majority of American voters.
For the intellectually less blinded and, therefore, more discerning American and European observers of the 2008 campaign, however, the warning signs have been there all along. From his tormented emotional attachment to his absentee father’s dubious legacy and his tragic demise to his intellectually inferior two books on his poetic life story, and his more than shallow political philosophy, they have sensed Obama’s hidden, yet in unguarded moments present, intense hatred for American society and its white majority. Especially, European writers have been quick to point out the outrightly idiotic elements in Obama’s campaign rhetoric. These and similar objections to Obama’s fishy change and hope message have been dismissed by his adoring supporters as racist manifestations of a bigoted minority. Unfortunately, those who opposed Obama’s candidacy have been proven correct by his policies during his eight year tenure at the helm of the American government.
The chief cause of President Obama’s total failure in domestic as well as foreign policies has been his belief that he is a transformative politician, who has been chosen by history to continually change the world without possessing the intellectual abilities, and the experience to distinguish between positive and negative changes. This unfortunate combination of self-generated delirium and the malicious stubbornness of a maniacal hater will mark Barack Hussein Obama a pseudo-politician and, indeed, an idiot. Moreover, his tragedy has been compounded by the fact that the more failures he has experienced the more hateful he has become. And the more hateful he has become the greater the destruction has been that he has wrought upon the United States and the rest of the world.
The case in point has been his visceral hatred against the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Intellectually far superior and incomparably more experienced than President Obama, the Israeli Prime Minister has bested the former whenever they have met in front of the domestic and the international media. Displaying his inherent cowardness and petty-mindedness, President Obama has facilitated and approved the United Nation Security Council Resolution on December 23, 2016, to declare the construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan River illegal under international law. Not unexpectedly, Resolution No. 2334 has been greeted by most of the Muslim states as binding condemnation of Israel by the entire international community. In the United States the Resolution has been viewed as another manifestation of the decline, corruption, and uselessness of the United Nations.
Generally speaking, this Resolution cannot be viewed in isolation as Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes would like the world to believe. Rather, Resolution No. 2334 is an integral part of a continuing campaign by the member states of the Arab League and other Muslim states to deligitimize the state of Israel, a member of the United Nation. As of 2016, Israel has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly and its various councils at least fifty times. In particular, the United States Human Rights Council has appeared to be almost exclusively concerned with the state of human rights in the only democratic state in the greater Middle East and beyond. From a Resolution passed by the General Assembly on November 10, 1975, declaring that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination” to the ludicrous Resolution 37/18 of November 16, 1982, calling on Israel to abstain from attacking nuclear facilities in neighboring states, and culminating in several identical resolutions calling on all nations to cut ties with the state of Israel, an unholy alliance of the former Soviet Union, presently Russia, the unified bloc of Muslim states, and an assortment of totally uninterested states eager to dip into the pockets of oil rich Arab states, have misused the United Nations to make a mockery out of international law. Resolution No. 2334 is no exception. Voted on by Russia that since 1945 had illegally occupied the Kuril Islands, invaded and recently annexed two region of the Republic of Georgia and the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, and eastern Ukraine; by the People’s Republic of China that has constructed illegal military facilities across the Pacific and has continuously invaded and threatened sovereign states in Asia; by Venezuela that has been a living political and economic hell since Hugo Chavez seized power; and by other nefarious members of the Security Council, is further proof of the gradual break of the United Nations with its founding objectives and principles.
Legally, however, the Resolution is almost totally meaningless, since it does not contain any sanctions against Israel. The only faintly relevant provision of the Resolution is Paragraph 5 that calls upon all states “…to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” However, it is highly unlikely that this paragraph would substantially affect existing economic and trade relations between Israel and its partners.
The Obama Administration’s justification of approving the Resolution cannot be taken seriously. John Kerry’s assertion that “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank spawning terrorism” is laughable. Ben Rhodes in his sanctimonious statement emphasized that “We could not in good conscience veto a resolution that expressed concerns about the very trends that are eroding the foundation for a two-state solution.”
In political terms, the Resolution neither provides a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question nor contributes to peace and stability in the Middle East. On the contrary, it only encourages Muslim radicals to push for the elimination of Israel. Yet, the existence of Israel in the Middle East is in the strategic interest of the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. The alternative, namely, the abandonment of Israel would only serve the cause of Muslim radicals who view the reconquest of the territories they consider to be a part of the “House of Islam” as a first step in their expansion of Islam throughout the world. For this reason, it is time for the world to decisively reject the misleading propaganda of lies and ahistorical myths, stand up unitedly against the planned destruction of the Judeo-Christian civilization, and defend the political, economic and cultural values of the West.
Iran blames Jews for forcing Arab states to designate Hezbollah as terrorist group
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iranian leaders publicly broke ranks this week with major Arab Gulf nations in a series of statements criticizing these regional powers for formally designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, a regional governing coalition comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain, announced last week that it is formally designating the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
The GCC joins the United States, Israel, Canada, and a host of other nations in labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. These nations, including Saudi Arabia, have already taken steps to blacklist organizations and individuals associated with Hezbollah. Continue reading
The ICC runs into the world’s largest powder house waving a torch.
That is how Lawfare Tyranny described the International Criminal Court’s ill-advised and completely unwarranted entree into the most complex, thorniest political conflict in modern history.
And now, apparently, others are beginning to wake up to the fact that inserting a highly politicized, truculent aspiring transnational behemoth with a track record of acerbating, not reconciling, conflicts into the mix might not be such a great idea.
A United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by New Zealand and circulated amongst that body’s fifteen members, seeks an end to “provocative acts” on both sides, explicitly calling on Israel to stop settlement construction and strongly suggesting Palestinian leaders “to refrain from referring…a situation concerning Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the International Criminal Court.”
Naturally, Amnesty International — an organization that has never been able to discern the lofty mission statement of the ICC from the reality of its practices — is not pleased.
by Caroline Glick • RealClearPolitics
The US has striven to achieve peaceable relations between the states of the Middle East for nearly 70 years. Yet today, US government is disparaging the burgeoning strategic ties between the Sunni Arab states and Israel.
In a briefing to a delegation of visiting Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington last week, a senior Obama administration official sneered that the only noticeable shift in Israel-Arab relations in recent years is that the current Egyptian government has been coordinating security issues “more closely” with Jerusalem than the previous one did.
“But we have yet to see that change materialize in the Gulf.”
If this is how the US views the state of Israel’s relations with the Arabs, then Israel should consider canceling its intelligence cooperation with the US. Because apparently, the Americans haven’t a clue what is happening in the Middle East.
First of all, to characterize the transformation of Israeli-Egyptian relations as a mere question of “more closely” coordinating on security issues is to vastly trivialize what has happened over the past two years. Continue reading
By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has submitted an amicus brief to the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court defending the decision of the Court’s lead prosecutor not to heed a trio of judges’ naked politics-not-law demand that she open an investigation into the ill-fated Israeli raid of the Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara. (Whether Fatou Bensouda did this out of a commitment to justice or to protect her hard-won power/turf is, of course, open to question.)
Read the full brief at this location. Here is a bit of the condensed reasoning from the press release:
[W]e have argued that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Israel or Israeli forces at all because Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC. A treaty (an agreement between two more States), by its very nature, binds only parties that agree to be bound by its terms. Under customary international law, the terms of a treaty cannot be forced on non-parties. This is a basic principle of international law. As such, we have argued that the Rome Statute does not bind Israel and cannot be applied against Israel. Yet, it appears that the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have influenced the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision.
Our brief urges the Appeals Chamber to review and decide this critical case appropriately, according to the applicable law, not anti-Israel bias.
More info on the group’s fight against the ever-creeping “lawfare” menace here.
“We will not stand by as our ally is undermined on the world stage,” Jay Sekulow, a chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice who has successfully presented an oral argument to the ICC lead prosecutor in the past, writes. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
By Charles Lipson • RealClearPolitics
The Canadian government of Stephen Harper has a fascinating idea. Use hate-crime laws against groups that advocate boycotting Israel.
It’s a terrible idea. I love it.
It’s terrible because we should protect varied political views, not suppress them. That includes unpopular views and sacrilegious drawings. The only exceptions should be speech that threatens physical harm and does so directly and plausibly. Continue reading
كاتبا في موقع الديلي بيست، عدد أندرو نوفاك قائمة مقنعة من الأسباب التي توضح لم أن فلسطين «ليس من المرجح أن ترى نتائجا مترتبة على ملاحقة قضائية من [المحكمة الجنائية الدولية] لسنوات عديدة، أو على الإطلاق.”
“إحالة فلسطين إلى المحكمة الجنائية الدولية أمر محفوف بالمخاطر،” كتب نوفاك، “إن المحكمة الجنائية الدولية قد تحاكم جميع أطراف النزاع، وهذا يشمل الجرائم الفلسطينية وكذلك الإسرائيلية. المزاعم بأن مقاتلي حماس يستخدمون دروعا بشرية و يطلقون صواريخ غير مستقرة في طبيعتها تجاه المناطق المدنية، إذا تم إثباتها، ستمثل بشكل شبه مؤكد جرائم حرب. على النقيض من ذلك، الادعاءات ضد إسرائيل معقدة أكثر من ذلك بكثير، وإلى حد بعيد: هذه تتضمن على سبيل المثال ما إذا كان الجيش الإسرائيلي اصدر إنذارا قبل وقت كاف قبل مهاجمة المباني السكنية أو ما إذا تسبب في أضرار جانبية مفرطة نتيجة ملاحقة مقاتلي حماس من غير ذوي الشأن. و مشروعية المستوطنات الإسرائيلية هي المسألة الأعقد من بين جميع القضايا، وهي ليست قضية يعتبر المدعي العام للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية او قضاتها في وضع جيد للإجابة للتعامل مها كخبراء في القانون الجنائي. سيعتري الأمر الفوضى “.
فوضى؟ إذن هذا مما إعتدناه من المحكمة الجنائية الدولية!
ومن الواضح أن قيادة فتح لابد من أنها قد قامت بقاربة هذه السيناريوهات.
بسيطة. أنهم يقدرون- كما فعل آخرون من قبل- أن المحكمة الجنائية الدولية، و بينما هي عديمة الفائدة تماما كمحكم في أمر العدالة العالمية أو كآلة ردع ضد جرائم الحرب، مع ذلك تمتلك شهوة تثير السخرية للسلطة (فضلا عن تجاهلها التام لكل من الفوضى التي يخلفها هوس المحكمة بممارسة السلطة و لضحايا هذه الفوضى) مما يجعلها مفيدة كأداة للحرب بوسائل أخرى.
إن الرسالة السامية للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية هي، وبعبارة أخرى، لا صلة لها هنا بالموضوع تماما- هي فقط مجرد مجرد جهاز للتحريض على الأعمال فصل جديد من المأساة التي استمرت، و يكاد يكون في حكم الؤكد أن تتجاوز، وجودها.
و من أجل تضخيم نفسها في وسائل الإعلام وأمام أنصارها العصريين ذوي التوجه العالمي، يظهر العملاق العالمي (المحكمة) الطموح أكثرمن مستعد لدخول أكبر دار للذخيرة في العالم ملوحا شعلة قوامها نشرات صحفية مستمناة و مذكرات قانونية لا معنى لها.
مرة أخرى، يقول نوفاك:
إن عضوية فلسطين في المحكمة الجنائية الدولية من المرجح أن لها دوافع سياسية تهدف إلى انتزاع تنازلات من إسرائيل. إذا كان التهديد بإتخاذ إجراء من قبل المحكمة الجنائية الدولية سيحفز إسرائيل على إجراء تحقيقات بشأن ممارستها الخاطئة المزعومة ، وهذا وحده يمكن أن يكون نجاحا من وجهة النظر الفلسطينية. و إذا كان مثل هذا التهديد سيبطئ النشاط الاستيطاني أو يردع العمليات العسكرية الإسرائيلية في المستقبل، هذه الأشياء أيضا يمكن أن تعتبر نجاحات.
و أخيرا، قد تكون عضوية فلسطين قد تكون جزءا من لعبة شطرنج سياسية داخلية بين حماس التي تسيطر على قطاع غزة، وفتح، الحزب الحاكم في الضفة الغربية. حركة فتح، حزب الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس، هي من قامت بالإحالة للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية، ولكن حماس هي المسؤولة في المقام الأول عن جرائم الحرب المزعومة الفلسطينية. على الرغم من أن حركة فتح ستقابل بالإستياء إن هي أعترفت علنا بهذا، و لكن تحقيق المحكمة الجنائية الدولية في الوضع الفلسطيني يمكن أن يكون محاولة من حركة فتح لتعزيز موقفها ضد حماس.
آه، إن المراقب الذي من المفترض أن يكون غير ذو مصلحة تبين أنه لاعب أناني آخر يمكن التلاعب به، إدارته، و/أو استغلاله.
By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny
Over at the Daily Beast Andrew Novak lays out a persuasive list of reasons why Palestine is “unlikely to see results from an [International Criminal Court] prosecution for many years, if ever.”
“Palestine’s referral to the ICC is fraught with risks,” Novak writes. “The ICC may prosecute all parties to a conflict, and that includes Palestinian crimes as well as Israeli ones. The allegations that Hamas fighters used human shields and fired unstable rockets at civilian areas, if proven, almost certainly constitute war crimes. By contrast, allegations against Israel are much more complex, and largely matters of proportion: for instance, whether the Israeli military provided sufficient warning before attacking residential buildings or caused excessive collateral damage pursuing low-level Hamas fighters. The legality of Israeli settlements is the most complex question of all — and not one that the ICC Prosecutor or judges are well-placed to answer as experts in criminal law. This would be a mess.”
A mess? Business as usual for the ICC then!
Obviously Fatah leadership must have gamed out something approximating these scenarios.
So why proceed?
By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny
Over at Foreign Affairs today Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Timothy William Waters explores in disquieting detail the ways all involved parties — and many parties that would expressly prefer to remain uninvolved — are about to become painfully, seriously reacquainted with the law of unintended consequences as the world’s most ineffective, politicized court sashays its way into the world’s most intractable, tragic conundrum.
There many macros and micro ideas to parse and explore in future posts, but to begin here are Waters’ thumbnail sketches of a few of the dangers that lie ahead for…
By Jesse Byrnes • The Hill
President Obama’s role during the Israeli elections was larger than reported, according to a pollster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
“What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu,” John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, said in an interview on John Catsimatidis’s “The Cats Roundtable” radio show broadcast Sunday on AM 970 in New York.
“There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” McLaughlin said. Continue reading
It’s got nothing to do with American principles and everything to do with partisanship.
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
Israel is a liberal nation—in the best sense of the word—but it’s not a leftist one. And for increasing numbers of Democrats, the center-right consensus of Israeli politics is unacceptable, immoral and bigoted, incompatible with their conception of American values.
This is bad news, because Likud looks like it’s going to win around 30 seats. If the numbers hold, Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the best efforts of the president and his allies, will likely remain prime minister. Bougie Herzog will, no doubt, have a bright future in the opposition.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Paul Krugman had already declared Likud’s impeding fall was all about inequality. (What isn’t, right?) Slate proposed that Likud’s looming death would be about housing, or maybe it was racism. Mostly, though, Netanyahu was going to lose because he has a nasty habit of challenging the progressive worldview of Barack Obama, which offends many people, according to the New York Times. And really, is there any bigger sin? Continue reading