Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Exclusive: Israel Advances Bill Allowing Military to Use 'All Means Necessary' to Defend Israeli, U.S. Troops from ICC

New legislation against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague is being advanced at the Knesset, and would allow Israel to use all means necessary in defending U.S. and Israeli troops from the global tribunal.

It would be the first legislation of its kind by a foreign state that authorizes the use of its own forces to defend American servicemen and women.

The news comes in the wake of sanctions imposed by the U.S. on senior ICC officials, including chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (pictured), on charges of “illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”

Bensouda is currently leading separate ICC war crime probes against the U.S. and Israel, both of which are not its member states.

The law, which has support from across the Israeli political spectrum, would prevent the Israeli government from cooperating with the court and bar entry to ICC employees into the country.

It protects Israeli residents and servicemembers, as well as U.S. servicemembers “from personal injury by hostile international institutions, seeking to harm them due to acts committed in the territory of Israel or on behalf of the State of Israel, whether the acts constitute an offense under Israeli law or not,” the text of the law reads, adding it would do so “by any means necessary.”

“The tribunal’s built-in bias against Israel already restricts its freedom of action, and poses a threat to its sovereignty,” the draft text continues.

The legislation, proposed by Likud MK and former Shin Bet security agency chief Avi Dichter, is modeled on a similar 2002 U.S. bill known as the “American Service-Members’ Protection Act,” which authorizes the use of military force to free its citizens from incarceration at the Hague.

Although the U.S. legislation has similar clauses for American allies, until now no other country had offered reciprocity in the struggle against the anti-American court.

Professor Eugene Kontorovich, the director of international law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum who has extensively advised the Israeli government and State Department on best practices to deal with the hostile ICC, lauded the move.

“Israel’s bill demonstrates its unique status among America’s allies – it is the only country in the world that says it can use its forces to release Americans jailed by the politicized and undemocratic ICC,” Kontorovich told Breitbart News.

Kontorovich accused the international tribunal of anti-Israel bias and double standards.

“Israel is right to reject any cooperation with the ICC, which has anti-Israel bias baked into its very charter, and has confirmed that bias and double standard countless times since then. The things the ICC Prosecutor is investigating Israel for are not crimes according to the prosecutor herself – when done by Russia or other nations. That is not the rule of law, but rather standard UN anti-Israel politics dressed up with legal words.”

Kontorovich further charged the court with having no legitimacy in pursuing countries that didn’t opt in to their self-made jurisdiction.

“Israel is joining the US in saying that the ICC’s attempt to assert control over non-member states is illegitimate, and should justly be resisted,” he said.

Deborah Danan

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