21st Century Wire
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced this week that it will not take any action against Israel over its raid of the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla attacked by Israel’s IDF in 2010. So what’s the point of ICC?
This latest ruling came despite a scathing UN Human Rights Council report which squarely assigned guilt to Israel for 10 dead activists and aid workers killed by trigger-happy Israeli IDF commandos – in an act of unprovoked military aggression.
The words from ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (photo, left), from Gambia, were astounding exhibition of doublespeak. While acknowledging that a heinous crime has been committed, she simultaneously claimed that Israel’s crime is simply not big enough to pursue – claiming the ICC must give its precious time to prosecute ‘larger-scale events’.
In other words: “Move along, nothing to see here”. Her official statement to the press on Thursday was as follows:
“The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed on board the Comorian-registered vessel the Mavi Marmara during the interception of the flotilla.”
“However, after carefully assessing all relevant considerations, I have concluded that the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.”
Bensouda’s twisted statement proved that the ICC is a toothless organisation. Her doublespeak reveals a double standard, and sends out a blunt message, not only to the people of Turkey and Palestine, but also to the world – that no matter what the crime or evidence against it, Israel shall remain untouchable.
Rather predictably, Israel didn’t lose the opportunity to chime in as the victim, claiming that the ICC complaint filed against it for the 10 murdered activists and their families was somehow “politically motivated”.
It’s just another stain on Israel’s already poor international image. Add it to the standard bill of fair: its refusal to engage in diplomatic talks, observe UN resolutions, and believes that it reserves the right to use excessive force against any of its political opponents, most of whom are unarmed.
No one in the western media or scared politicians, neither bothers to ask, nor seems to care – why GAZA needs humanitarian aid flotillas in the first place. The answer leads back to Israel. It’s a rogue state, and one that insists on behaving outside of the international norms so cherished by moral preachers in Washington DC and London, as it’s protected by the US and Britain so it can act with impunity.
No surprise then at the rear guard action by Israeli leadership when commenting on this internationally embarrassing event for Tel Aviv…
Benjamin Netanyahu has described this slaughter-at-sea as “unintentional”, but passengers aboard the ill-fated Mavi Marmara share a much different perspective…
Former US Marine and humanitarian aid worker Ken O’Keefe, a survivor of the Flotilla, wasn’t impressed by the Israeli PM’s comments, saying, “I would certainly ask any sane people to consider if it were their brother, their father, their husband who was murdered, would an apology and money be sufficient for you?”
O’Keefe also calls out the archaic, corrupt neocolonial double standard at work with the ICC. He explains:
“Jose Moreno Ocampo was the Chief Prosecutor for the ICC before the current puppet Fatou Bensouda, he likewise refused to prosecute Israeli officials for blatant war crimes during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, based on the so-called test of “gravity”. This is somewhat clever I have to say, but it is also tantamount to aiding and abetting the same crimes you are supposedly set up to punish. Effectively what is being said is that as long as you do not kill some unspecified number of people, no matter how heinous the crime, the “gravity” will not be sufficient to prosecute. Of course this same argument cannot be made for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, so different tactics have to be employed to excuse the mass-murder of 1 to 2 million people in Iraq. But again people must realise that the true function of the ICC is to protect the assets of the Powers That Be. This is why African individuals can be prosecuted while sanctioned western criminals are untouchable. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was not within the sphere of protected criminals in the west, thus he was a useful pawn to show that at least one western leader has been prosecuted at the ICC. Tony Blair and George W. Bush approved and innocent, while Slobodan Milosevic is unapproved, and guilty.”
I had reported on this incident in 2013, and my comments then are even more relevant now in the wake of this summer’s genocide in Gaza where Israel’s “Defense Force” managed to kill nearly 2,500 civilians in Gaza, the overwhelming majority of whom were unarmed including many women and children. Here is what I said then:
“Quoting Israel’s own “eye for an eye” foreign policy doctrine of retaliation, and judging by Israel’s own past record following comparable incidents, if the shoe were on the other foot – with nine dead Israeli passengers, arguably this would have prompted a stern reaction in the form of either targeted assassinations, or a surgical airstrikes by Israel against Turkish assets, as a result of such a high-profile international incident.”
“If readers are in any doubt as to the plausibility of this scenario, consider the quid pro quo which followed Hezzbolah’s 2006 capture of only two Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser. The result was a 33 day bombardment and military siege of Lebanon which left an estimated 1,191 Lebanese civilians dead, 4,409 injured and hundreds of thousands more internally and externally displaced – a huge black mark on Israel’s own record of wanton aggression against its neighbors.” (Henningsen – RT – March 2013)
O’Keefe sees the situation as indicative of a wider, global problem – where US-British-Israel axis militarised lawlessness will remain the status quo unless the international community finally wakes up to the obvious shortcomings of institutions like the ICC. He states:
“The key function of this so-called ‘criminal court’ is to protect other vital assets of the Powers That Be, and we find that individuals from African nations are routinely charged and prosecuted at the ICC, as they should often be, but every thinking person knows that George Bush, Tony Blair and their cohorts – are 100% guilty of the
same, and much worse crimes, and yet they gallivant around free as birds. So the ICC must be seen for what it is, if we are serious about moving beyond frustration at its utter uselessness. In a better world there will be laws just like many of the ones we have now, but they will be enforced justly, across the board, without exception. That is the pre-requisite for justice, so when Israeli, American and British criminals (amongst others around the world) face charges and are convicted at the ICC, then we will know we are on the cusp of a better world.”Who are BICOM?
Like the ADL in America, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) is a UK-based Jewish-Israeli lobbying organisation which claims to, “act to promote awareness of Israel and the Middle East in the UK”. The reality is something altogether different. BICOM is Israel’s media bull-horn (and bull-whip) in Europe, who’s main function is to help manage major media outlets so that their coverage of any Israel-Palestine issue is sympathetic to Israel, and either hostile or indifferent to Palestinian interests.
Sadly, when it comes to getting their information and world news, British and European news consumers are held hostage by BICOM-managed, major media organs like the BBC. The BBC’s built-in propaganda bias was evident in its coverage of this and every other Israel-Palestine story. Very subtle, but effective, the BBC report reads: “Ten Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident on the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara as it attempted to breach a blockade of the Hamas-run territory”. Here BBC editor’s opening gambit refers to, “Ten Israeli soldiers were injured”, but omits at the beginning that unarmed aid workers on board the boat were in fact murdered by IDF. Then the BBC goes on to politicise the context of the story by not referring to Gaza as Gaza, or even Palestine, but rather as a “Hamas-run territory”.
Shameless reporting, but that’s nothing new.
After it’s all said and done however, the ICC has been shown to take sides when it comes to dispensing its bizarre brand of justice. Therefore, it has zero credibility. The ICC has never found the US, Britain or Israel guilty of anything (nor has the US ever agreed to being a member), even as the US/NATO routinely threatens to attack or invade any country who’s interests run contrary to those of Washington DC or the City of London.
Is there really any point it the ICC then? What could take its place (maybe nothing)? That’s an important question we need to answer, or else the ICC needs to be disbanded, because as it stands, all it’s doing now is perverting the course of international justice.
READ MORE ISRAEL/PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Israeli Files
SUNDAY SCREENING: ‘Dead in the Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty’ (2002)
Our weekly documentary film curated by our editorial team at 21WIRE.
This week is the 50th Anniversary of the Attack on the USS Liberty…
Although this is a mainstream production, it’s a rare instance where the BBC actually took on a controversial topic which could potentially damage the image of Israel. Such a film would never be released by the BBC today. The following BBC documentary details how the Israeli military (IDF) attacked the U.S. naval ship USS Liberty during the Six Day War in 1967. In the documentary Israeli officials claim that the attack was “a case of mistaken identity,” but the surviving crew members of the ship are interviewed explaining why they think that the attack was deliberate. WATCH:
Runtime: 42 min
Release Date: 2002
SEE MORE SUNDAY SCREENINGS HERE