ICC prosecutor’s flawed and morally twisted arrest warrants against Israeli leadership: A shattering blow to judicial watchdog’s credibility

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Karim Asad Ahmad Khan

Karim Asad Ahmad Khan (File photo)

By Dr Abhinav Pandya, New Delhi: Amidst allegations of UNRWA employing 450 Hamas terrorists comes another news from the ICC dealing a shattering blow to the credibility of the UN and its agencies i.e. the ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan’s request seeking the arrest of Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Yoav Gallant  for their alleged ‘war crimes’ and the ‘crimes against humanity.’

The list also includes Hamas leadership, i.e., Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohamed Al Deif Ibrahim Al-Masri.

Worsening this bizarre move is Khan’s attempt to bracket Israel’s leadership with dreaded terrorist commanders and ideologues who masterminded and orchestrated the 7th October attacks, which involved the most horrendous genocidal murders, heinous sexual crimes, rapes, hostage-taking and barbaric brutalities against the Israeli civilians.

Most shockingly, the ICC prosecutor and his famed advisory panel, which includes accomplished jurists and activists like Amal Clooney, British judge Sir Adrian Fulford, Judge Theodor Moron, Danny Friedman, etc., have chosen to equate the attacker and the attacked and appease theatrics and rhetoric at the cost of justice and reason.

Though it hardly needs any elaboration, in the context of this biased request proposal, it needs to be reiterated that Israel is a vibrant and functioning democracy that has respected international treaties, statutes, and conventions and is a part of multilateral development, diplomatic, scientific, and economic initiatives. It has an effective judiciary.

Tel Aviv has always displayed responsible state behaviour and never indulged in any subversive acts such as running proxy terrorist groups, indulging in terror financing, or nuclear proliferation.

On the other hand, Hamas is a terrorist group that is responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks within Israel.

As a terrorist group, it has robust links with an array of transnational Islamist terrorist groups and charities. Primarily driven by the violent and hateful interpretation of Sharia, Sunni extremist Hamas ‘owes allegiance to Allah and strives to raise the banner of Islam over every inch of Israel and aims to destroy Israel through Jihad.

Its covenant reads, ‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’

Equating such a totalitarian and fascist terrorist ideology, akin to none others than the terror groups like Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and ISIS, with Israel not only defies rationality but also smacks of ulterior motives peddled by antisemitic forces.

On 7th October, Israel was a victim of a Hamas-orchestrated terrorist attack. In the most horrific attack in the entire history of Israel, more than 1100 civilians were killed, and 253 were taken captive. Before the attack, Israel issued work permits to about 18,000 Gazans to work in the Israeli territory, which clearly shows that Israel was working towards a rapprochement based on good economics and peace.

Hamas’ attack was a pre-meditated attack targeting civilians in violation of all the international rules and ethics of war. For Israel, it was tantamount to an act of war threatening its sovereignty and territorial integrity. What Israel has done since then is an act of self-defence to destroy its existential threat, Hamas, and get its hostages released.

Netanyahu, as an elected leader of Israel, has the right and is duty-bound to protect Israel’s sovereignty.

To protect Israel and its citizens, Hamas needs to be destroyed. Israel’s retaliatory action after the 7th October terror attacks is merely aimed at ensuring Israel’s security. However, Hamas seems to be in no mood to relent. It is using hospitals and Palestinian civilians, including women, elderly, and children, as human shields, and cannon fodder for its propaganda war against Israel.

Hamas does it with a purpose, as a part of its devious strategy to garner global sympathy by releasing provocative images of dying, injured, and bloodied civilians and ruins of civilian infrastructure.  

With that, it wants to project Israel as an occupier state, killing civilians. Being a non-state actor driven by hateful medieval ideology, it is no match for Israel’s superiority in a conventional war. Hence, it is resorting to such deplorable and underhand tactics of using its civilian population as human shields.

Unabashedly, it continues to hold 125 Israelis hostage despite many civilian casualties in the Israeli attacks and Jerusalem’s numerous attempts to negotiate a ceasefire in return for releasing the hostages.

In such a scenario, Israel cannot be held responsible for civilian casualties. Despite the most unethical behaviour exhibited by Hamas in this conflict, Israel is making its most sincere efforts to follow the rules. It is not targeting civilians. Before the launch of the operations, civilians were warned to evacuate.

Israeli forces gave them safe passage to Rafah. Further, the Israeli offensive continues in Rafah because many Hamas terrorists are hiding in Rafah tunnels. Reportedly, 900 terrorists surrendered in Rafah, and 7 hostages’ dead bodies were recovered in the UNRWA building. Given that these depravities and shenanigans of Hamas are an open secret, the ICC prosecutor’s arrest proposals stand biased, vindictive, and hollow, bereft of any moral heft.

As regards the ICC panel’s allegation of Israel deliberately starving the civilian population by blocking humanitarian aid, the Israeli foreign ministry has condemned them as false and distorted lies. They have also furnished concrete evidence and assurances of providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians. Hence, Khan’s starvation allegations cannot be taken at face value. Also, it is pertinent to mention here that Hamas has a blemished track record of diverting humanitarian aid to terrorist activities.

All said and done, ICC’s arrest warrant request brings forth an ugly side of international institutions.

Apparently, ICC’s attitude shows the least regard for Israeli civilian life as if they do not deserve any human right. Such a discriminatory approach towards human rights and marked tilt towards brutal terrorist groups will blow the credibility of international institutions to smithereens.

(The author is the founder, Director, and CEO of Usanas Foundation, India-based security, and foreign policy think tank. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NewsDrum.in and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)