Kangaroo ICC orders the arrest of Israeli leaders: so what?

What does it signify that a toothless puppet body of the west has felt the need to indict zionist officials?

Proletarian writers

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Facts on the ground being created by the forces of resistance are pushing western politicians and institutions to modify their ‘unreserved support’ for Israel. In Gaza, in northern Palestine, in the Golan heights and elsewhere, the Axis of Resistance is decisively beating the Israeli war machine, despite all the military and material backing it receives every day from the USA, Britain and Germany. In the process, the zionists’ crimes and true intentions are being exposed as never before.

Proletarian writers

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The international criminal court (ICC), notorious as a kangaroo court that has so far only convicted leaders who have offended the imperialists in Africa and eastern Europe, has announced its intention of seeking arrest warrants for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant on charges of war crimes.

It is the spirited resistance of the Palestinian people that has brought this to pass. Their steadfast struggle has forced the world to pay attention as the facade of ‘Israeli democracy’ crumbles to dust, revealing the genocidal truth beneath.

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan accused the pair of crimes that include the “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare”, “wilful killing” and “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population”. (Michael Gove condemns call for Binyamin Netanyahu’s arrest by Gabrielle Weiniger and Hugh Tomlison, The Times, 21 May 2024)

Taken together with the stir South Africa has been making at the International Court of Justice (insisting that what the zionists are doing in Gaza is indeed genocide), these judgements are as welcome to Israel as sunshine is to a vampire. Whilst it remains to be seen whether any of these judicial moves translate into concrete action, the double impact of Israel losing the war against the resistance and at the same time watching in parallel its very public and visible moral collapse cannot but shake Israel to its foundations and accelerate its ultimate demise.

Outrage in the imperialist camp

British housing minister Michael Gove reacted to the ruling like a scalded cat, screeching: “Hamas is a terrorist organisation bent on slaughter. Israel is a state, and like all states an imperfect one, but trying to defend its people. Equating the two is just nonsensical.”

The reality, of course, is that: (a) Hamas is one thread of the Palestinian people’s legitimate armed resistance against national oppression and occupation; and that (b) Israel’s illegitimate ‘state’ was imposed on Palestine at the point of a gun in 1948 and has no historical ‘right to exist’. The one part that Gove got right is that equating Hamas and Israel is indeed ‘nonsensical’, although we would choose a less polite expression.

There can be no equivalency drawn between the just resistance of the oppressed and the unjust and genocidal violence of the oppressor.

Predictably, prosecutor Khan (a very British barrister) sought to mollify Israel and its imperialist backers by adding ‘balance’ to the mix, salting his prosecution dossier with some highly coloured allegations against Hamas (all of which appear to be based in the totally discredited lies made by Israel in the aftermath of its military defeat on 7 October, which are repeated by the ICC as if they were known facts).

For all his ‘even-handed’ pains, however, Khan found himself branded as an antisemite who Gove said was “creating a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas”. This was so self-evidently a case of projection – of miraculously finding all one’s own faults writ large on the brow of one’s enemy – as to invite only ridicule and contempt.

‘Recognising’ the Palestinian state in theory; disrupting peace negotiations in practice

Neither Israel nor the USA are signed up to the ICC, but Palestine is, which is why the court has jurisdiction in this case. In a further sign of Israel’s growing isolation in the world, Norway, Spain and Ireland have all announced their recognition of Palestinian statehood this week.

Critics of the move from the anti-imperialist camp have suggested that the whole performance serves the west more than it does the Palestinian cause. Since Netanyahu and Gallant will continue to have US and British protection, any warrant for their arrest will remain unenforced, impacting these two criminals only on a low level in relation to certain travel plans.

Doha-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, on the other hand, who is currently responsible for shuttling backwards and forwards to Cairo to take part in ceasefire talks being mediated by Egypt (the previous negotiator Saleh al-Arouri was assassinated by Israel in January), certainly would be impeded by a warrant, perhaps being forced to drop out of negotiations altogether and go into hiding.

The other two Hamas figures named on the ICC’s indictment (Yahya Sinwar and Mohammad Deif) are living in the resistance tunnels deep beneath Gaza, and neither the Israelis nor the USA have been able to locate them, never mind extract them from the strip.

From court cases filed with toothless judicial bodies to statehood ‘recognition’ for a people whose land is under complete occupation and whose people are being wiped out in the full glare of global publicity, none of these performative measures amounts to really ending military or economic support for and cooperation with the zionist entity. Quite the contrary. Despite all this international opprobrium, Israel continues to commit its heinous crimes unabated, even as a fresh injunction has been issued by the United Nations court (the ICJ) that Israel should immediately put an end to its invasion of Rafah.

But while all these ‘procedures’, ‘edicts’ and ‘actions’ are unable to stop a single bomb from falling on the defenceless civilians of Gaza (the supply of which could be stemmed within minutes by a phone call from Joe Biden’s criminal White House regime), they are evidence of the growing pressure that governments in the west are coming under from their outraged populations. As this pressure grows, we can expect more such steps to be taken.

Indeed, the more that workers show a willingness to take the law into their own hands and use their collective power (as students and dockworkers around the world are already doing) to sever the flow of weapons and supplies to Israel, and to force the rupture of all cooperative links, we will see governments being pushed into taking measures that have a real and not merely a symbolic impact on the zionist war effort and economy.

Recognition of Palestine’s right to exist ‘as a state’ and the endless repetition of the stillborn ‘two-state solution’ mantra (a compromise that was proven to be unworkable not by any declaration of Hamas but by the actions of the Israeli state and its ultra-racist fanatical settler foot soldiers) is really aimed at promoting the traitorous collaborator Mahmoud Abbas as a ‘partner for dialogue’ and justifying the continued refusal of the imperialists to recognise the chosen leadership of the Palestinian people.

Israel’s classic mafioso response

Rage at losing its international respectability is clearly having an effect on the Israeli body politic, even if the threatened warrants can’t actually be executed. Back in April, when rumours of a possible prosecution against Israel first began to circulate, 12 zionist-sponsored Republican senators in the USA signed a letter that could have come straight from the pen of Don Corleone. It ended on this threatening note:

“The United States will not tolerate politicised attacks by the ICC on our allies. Target Israel and we will target you. If you move forward with the measures indicated in the report, we will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you and your families from the United States. You have been warned.” (24 April 2024, our emphasis)

It now transpires that threats against the ICC from the zionist camp are nothing new. An investigation published this week in the Guardian has revealed a nine-year “secret war” waged by Israel against the court, describing how “the country deployed its intelligence agencies to surveil, hack, pressure, smear and allegedly threaten senior ICC staff in an effort to derail the court’s inquiries.

“Israeli intelligence captured the communications of numerous ICC officials, including Khan and his predecessor as prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, intercepting phone calls, messages, emails and documents …

“For Fatou Bensouda, a respected Gambian lawyer who was elected the ICC’s chief prosecutor in 2012, the accession of Palestine to the court brought with it a momentous decision. Under the Rome statute, the treaty that established the court, the ICC can exercise its jurisdiction only over crimes within member states or by nationals of those states.

“Israel, like the USA, Russia and China, is not a member. After Palestine’s acceptance as an ICC member, any alleged war crimes – committed by those of any nationality – in occupied Palestinian territories now fell under Bensouda’s jurisdiction.

“On 16 January 2015, within weeks of Palestine joining, Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into what in the legalese of the court was called ‘the situation in Palestine’. The following month, two men who had managed to obtain the prosecutor’s private address turned up at her home in The Hague.”

In a classic ‘we know where you live’ move, the unidentified men handed over an envelope containing hundreds of dollars in cash and a note with an Israeli phone number. The ICC’s offices, Palestinian contacts and investigation team members were monitored, their phones tapped and their meetings recorded. As the investigation proceeded, the director of Mossad himself began “ambushing” Prosecutor Bensouda in person to try to dissuade her from continuing with the case – at first in a friendly manner and then becoming increasingly threatening and hostile.

“Three sources briefed on Yossi Cohen’s activities said they understood the spy chief had tried to recruit Bensouda into complying with Israel’s demands during the period in which she was waiting for a ruling from the pre-trial chamber.

“They said he became more threatening after he began to realise the prosecutor would not be persuaded to abandon the investigation. At one stage, Cohen is said to have made comments about Bensouda’s security and thinly veiled threats about the consequences for her career if she proceeded.”

Mossad even tried to smear Ms Bensouda’s reputation by launching a sting operation against her husband and circulating allegations of his supposed wrongdoing amongst western diplomats. (Spying, hacking and intimidation: Israel’s nine-year ‘war’ on the ICC exposed by Harry Davies, Bethan McKernan and Yuval Abraham, 28 May 2024)

All of which is to say that the fear of losing the public relations war is nothing new for the zionists and their imperialist backers. What is new is the level of awareness that is growing amongst the masses worldwide and the correlating pressure that is building up for something to be done that will actually stop the genocidaires for good.

Fear grows at the prospect of being held to account

Meanwhile, back in the US congress, panic is setting in as the realisation dawns that if Israeli leaders might one day be put in the dock for war crimes, who knows that the same fate might not also befall the leaders of the USA, whose complicity and ultimate responsibility for those crimes is clearly evidenced and known throughout the world?

As a worried Republican House speaker Mike Johnson put it: “International bureaucrats cannot be allowed to use lawfare to usurp the authority of democratic nations that maintain the rule of law … If the ICC is allowed to threaten Israeli leaders, ours could be next.

The same might be said about Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and all the other imperialist leaders and apologists, arms dealers and bankers who are busily cheering on and profiting from the genocide whilst pushing for laws to criminalise the resulting dissent at home.

The time is coming when they will all be held to account – if not in bourgeois courts, then by whatever means present themselves.