Bibi is cowed by the international community
By Ted Belman
In an Israel National News article we learn,
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that expropriating land and homes from Palestinian Authority Arabs in Judea and Samaria and giving them to Jews could lead to the issue of the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria being brought before the International Court in The Hague. [..]
To be fair, there may be validity in this in that the FGC prohibits expropriation except in limited circumstances. But that in no way puts the settlements themselves in issue.
- The report said that the concern is that Israel or Israeli officials will be prosecuted in the criminal courts in The Hague under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that transferring an occupying population into occupied territory is a war crime.
But is this so?
In my article The Truth about “the occupation” and “the settlements”, I discussed in detail the Forth Geneva Convention. According to my understanding, the FGC does not apply because the lands in question were not the lands of “another High Contracting Party” In the advisory opinion by the ICJ on the fence the court held otherwise. So even if their decision holds, the settlements are not illegal and the settlers are not criminals. The FGC prohibits the occupying power from directly or indirectly transferring populations and it is argued that when a state gives inducements, it is indirectly transferring. But I wrote;
The anti-Zionists reject the notion that the proscription is against only forced transfers and argue that the FGC proscribes inducement to move as well. But how can there be a crime of inducement when the person committing the act, the settler, has done nothing wrong. How can you be guilty of a crime by inducing someone to do something which is not a crime? Furthermore, this inducement would be a War Crime on an equal footing with Genocide. The equation is ludicrous. And if the settlers settle on their own volition and not due to inducements, what then? Also it is impossible to prosecute an occupying power. So what individuals would be held responsible?
Even if someone in Israel was convicted of offering inducements to settle, the settlers would not be affected and could remain in the settlements if they wished.
Matas opines, “The interpretation defies the ordinary understanding of criminal responsibility where the person committing the act is the primary wrongdoer and the person inducing the act is only an accessory.”
The absurdity of it all is plain. Yet Bibi is cowed. This is another example of Bibi playing it safe. Aniv Shalev said much the same thing in Israeli politics is the art of avoiding conflicts. This is not leadership. It is the avoidance of leadership.
Netanyahu refused to apply Israeli law to the settlements because of Weinstein’s report. But so far as I am aware it is not against the law to apply Israeli law to parts of the occupied territory and it is not against the law to annex part of them as Israel did when it annexed Jerusalem. The only bone of contention is whether what Israel did to induce settlements is proscribed by law. This is another case of the anti-Israel community distorting the law in order to make a case against Israel.
Even if they succeed in making their case, the settlements are still legal.
Like it or not, Netanyahu is intimidated by the international community. What hope is there for him to say “no” to further concessions by Israel in the peace process?