The case for holding 'Israel' and the architects of war crimes accountable
It is high time that the Zionist regime’s egregious acts of violence are prosecuted to ensure justice for a besieged population that has been under occupation for decades.
At the Arab Summit of 2022 in Algeria, dignitaries spoke of the centrality of the Palestinian cause and cited United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 194 of 1948 for compensation payments to Palestinian refugees. Condemnation of "Israel’s" barbaric practices and drawing attention to the assassinations and arbitrary arrests it carries out closely align with Amnesty International’s calls on Israeli war crimes to be trailed at the International Criminal Court. It is high time that the Zionist regime’s egregious acts of violence are prosecuted to ensure justice for a besieged population that has been under occupation for decades.
Amnesty International’s calls came amid the brutal three-day aggression in August 2022, where thirty-one civilians out of forty-nine Palestinians were massacred by the Israeli occupation forces. In November of the same year, the NGO Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) demanded that the ICC probe Eyal Toledano, former West Bank legal advisor of the Israeli occupation forces for planning and approving all policies that are against international humanitarian law. Alongside DAWN’s legitimate demands, Amnesty International’s 2022 report has documented fresh evidence of unlawful killings, including a guided Israeli missile that killed five children at a cemetery and tank fire on a house that killed one civilian in the Khan Yunis area. This brazen and indiscriminate flouting of international humanitarian law while conducting warfare necessitates a stern response from the international community with the ICC in The Hague being requested to play a constructive role.
Figures such as Toledano’s role in the Zionist regime’s nefarious, state-sponsored terrorism has a historical precedent. The ranking legal authority and attorney general was in full flow when a complaint was submitted to the ICC after intricate investigations into the occupation forces' activities in the West Bank took place between 2016 to 2020. According to the Director of Research at DAWN, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, cases such as Toledano’s provide an opportunity for the ICC to prosecute figureheads responsible for engineering apartheid on the Palestinians and allowing domestic legislation to overrule precedents that deal with international crimes.
Architects such as Toledano also boast staggering profiles of displacing a population and promoting social exclusion, isolation, and segregation. He single-handedly managed the demolition of 618 Palestinian homes and initiated collective punishments by forcing 2,115 Palestinians out of their own lands. This was de-facto state policy, as "Israel" extended its occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967. In the absence of a comprehensive inquiry that gets to the gist of state-sponsored terrorism, justice will not be served to a population that witnesses the ramifications of such parochial policymaking taking hold on a daily basis.
Then comes "plausible" deniability from the Israeli occupation forces which compounds the problem. Expectedly, after DAWN submitted a complaint, they censured the filing and attempted to challenge castigation by claiming that their activities are in accordance with international law and the ruling of the Supreme Court. This narrative can be punctured easily, however. Firstly, "Israel" is not a party to the ICC and can dispute the court’s jurisdiction by claiming that Palestine lacks sovereignty. Secondly, "Israel" conveniently ignores the fact that despite not being a party to the court, the ICC can exercise territorial jurisdiction over it and scrutinize its activities in occupied territories. As a result, any statement that digresses from the actual subject of inquiry should be construed as yet another attempt to absolve itself from responsibility.
The truth is that in 2022, demagogues, such as Toledano, are working as the Israeli occupation force’s Advocate General. Furthermore, the systematic destruction of Palestine continues unabated with breaches of international law being routine. With crimes against humanity being committed with impunity, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, aptly said that "Israel’s" offensive in the Gaza Strip in August 2022 unleashed fresh trauma and destruction on a besieged population. Amnesty International also became the fourth major human rights organization to equate "Israel" with an apartheid "state" by drawing parallels between white minority-ruled South Africa and the current Naftali Bennet administration.
Hence, there is a strong case against "Israel" for the ICC to consider. On merit alone, the 278-page report produced over a four-year period provides ample evidence to initiate war crime tribunals against an entity that constantly pursues a socially exclusionary agenda against an occupied population. In mid-October, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine advised all member states to devise a strategy to undercut the settler-colonial occupation of "Israel" and prevent the destruction of the Palestinian collective identity.
The statement of Francesca Albanese and all human rights organizations which are calling out Israeli apartheid should be taken at face value. The future of Palestine lies in accountability against war criminals from a Zionist regime and apartheid "state". Here lies the solution.