(LOS ANGELES, February 7, 2021) – In the wake of the International Criminal Court’s decision claiming jurisdiction to probe Israel for “war crimes,” Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder, issued the following statement:
“The ICC’s decision to accept jurisdiction to investigate Israel for so-called war crimes is unbalanced and clearly based on a well predicted political agenda that distorts international law. The decision draws from the propaganda of numerous anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which hope to weaponize the ICC against the world's only Jewish state. Moreover, the antisemitic terrorist organization Hamas is celebrating the ICC's decision as a victory.
"The ICC decision also rewards terror groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP and others. Such groups have wantonly and deliberately killed thousands of Israeli civilians and wounded many more, while putting Palestinian civilians directly in harm's way.
“One seriously problematic aspect of this ICC decision is the matter of asymmetrical warfare carried out by terrorist groups against democracies. During 2014’s Operation Protective Edge the terror group Hamas, a non-state actor, violated international law by embedding its military infrastructure and operations within a civilian population. This led the fighting into Gaza’s urban space. By launching rockets aimed at Israeli civilians from built-up residential neighborhoods in Gaza, Hamas and other groups left Israel with the dilemma of having to halt those attacks while doing as little harm as possible to Palestinian civilians. This posed significant operational, legal, and ethical challenges for the IDF. Despite the IDF's commitment to the rule of law and its efforts to protect civilians, the unfortunate consequence was many civilians found themselves caught in the crossfire. Other terror groups in the region have used the same strategy, including ISIS in the battle of Raqqa that involved armed forces from the United States, France, Germany and the U.K.
“It would be a tragedy for the rule of law if the ICC were to somehow reward the terrorist tactic of using civilians as human shields.
"The ICC’s claims that it does not seek to ‘set a precedent in relation to the question of future boundaries.’ In fact, the body did exactly that when it defined the ‘State of Palestine’ as including ‘the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.’ This was a clearly political decision, prejudging an outcome that can only be determined through future direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
"Israel is a functioning democracy with strong democratic institutions, including an internationally admired independent judiciary. On the other hand, the ICC is effectively functioning as a political tool in the hands of Israel's adversaries. It has no legitimacy in this case, especially in comparison to the Israeli judiciary.
"Ultimately, this decision will fuel conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, not reconciliation, justice, and peace.” About StandWithUs StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil. For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).