Khleif ’15: Palestine, the ICC and why I’m ready

Opinions Columnist
Sunday, January 25, 2015

In early January, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon announced that President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to join the International Criminal Court was approved. Effective April 1, Palestine will join 122 other states in a court that seeks to establish global justice and to hold the perpetrators of the world’s most heinous crimes accountable for their actions. This is a major move forward for Palestine after garnering non-member observer state status in 2012. 

But when I express my enthusiasm to friends around campus, I am usually met with three different responses. Response A: no comment. Many don’t know enough about the issue as a whole and therefore don’t have an opinion. Response B: with furrowed brows, some ask if I really think this is the best move. They say, “Targeting Israel could be problematic, considering ongoing negotiations.” And Response C: “Israel has only been defending itself, so it shouldn’t be taken to court” — a statement I, as a Palestinian, personally disagree with, though I do not condone violent actions launched by either side.

Regardless of political stance, one should view Palestine’s inclusion in the ICC as an improvement on the status quo — an alternative to the forms of action both sides have been taking in recent years.

Rather than receiving applause for taking responsible measures, Palestine has met with severe worry from individuals and even threats from countries such as the United States and Israel. My newsfeed is riddled with comments supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and his threats to cut millions in aid to Palestine should it follow through with joining the ICC. Sen. Rand Paul, R-K.Y., proposed a new bill that would cut funding to Palestine entirely.

Well, I am here to clarify why I believe Palestine’s membership in the ICC is a good thing and why I think others around campus should be excited too.

At face value, many see Palestine’s joining the ICC as an aggressive move to target Israel. This is not the case. As Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, pointedly mentions in his Jan. 15 Los Angeles Times editorial, Palestine’s membership means that all crimes committed on Palestinian territory will be subject to investigation. Meaning, crimes committed by both Palestinians and Israelis will be subject to review. When joining the ICC, a party not only gains the right to request investigation into another party’s actions but also subjects itself to investigation.

This is precisely the reason why the United States and Israel withdrew from the ICC in 2002. They did not want to risk investigation for alleged war crimes committed in their respective conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Though I have never supported Hamas or its actions, there is something commendable about the group’s willingness to embrace transparency.

Furthermore, the ICC does not possess the authority to prosecute entire groups or states. The function of the ICC as an autonomous organization — there’s an online handbook titled “Understanding the International Criminal Court,” for those of you seeking more information — is to prosecute individuals. According to the handbook, “the Office of the Prosecutor’s prosecutorial policy is to focus on those who, having regard to the evidence gathered, bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes.”

Some wonder how Palestine’s inclusion in the ICC will weaken peace negotiations. What negotiations? Israel, Palestine, the United States and other third parties have been “negotiating” for more than 60 years — a feat worthy of the Guinness World Records Book. Many have been advocating “negotiations” for almost as long.

And even if effective negotiations were occuring, one could contend that settlement expansion, segregated bus systems and the creation of what is arguably the world’s largest open-air ghetto also undermine the peace processes — but my newsfeed doesn’t seem to be lighting up with these atrocities. 

It is clear that peace talks have not worked in the past, are not working now and will not work in the near future. So why not take the case to an independent, international organization designed for predicaments such as this one? Though it won’t stop all the violence, it will transfer battles from the field to the courtroom.

Palestine’s inclusion in the ICC reflects the international community’s desire for change and for summers reminiscent of 2014 to never grip the region — and the world — again. It is a mark of progress and a way to hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions, regardless of their political, religious or ideological affiliations.

Joining the ICC does not guarantee investigation or trial, but it does establish the groundwork for something other than violence — something other than nothing.

And to the students who do not think Israel has done anything worthy of inquiry, then there’s nothing to worry about during trial.

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  1. This is what Zein is really writing about and the funny thing is: He doesn’t even know it!


    Islam is indeed a crime against humanity, and its first victims are Muslims.
    I think that is why Muslims are so quick and ready to assume victimhood. On a
    subconscious level, they feel victimized, but in their search for the cause of
    their discomfort they incorrectly identify colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism,
    and so forth as the cause.

    For a Muslim to face up to the reality of Islam and to admit to oneself that
    Islam is the problem means to lose one’s identity. Hence the cognitive
    dissonance Muslims experience when Islam is called into question. Hence the
    scrambling for excuses and explanations that can convince the Muslims
    themselves that Islam is not the problem. And the explanations tend to be
    colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth.

    When cultural Muslims refer to spurious arguments by Islamic apologists as a
    counterargument to brush aside direct quotes from the Qur’an and the hadiths,
    it is not that they are deliberately trying to deceive the non-Muslims. They
    are desperately clinging to the hope that Islam is not the problem. When they
    repeat the talking points of Islamic apologists explaining how Islam is a
    religion of peace, their primary aim is to convince (delude) themselves and
    make the cognitive dissonance go away at least momentarily, which then removes
    the immediate threat to their identity and postpones the inevitable

  2. Zein predictably quotes a paid Palestinian (Ken Roth) stooge to back his specious point of view.


    For Ken Roth and Human Rights Watch (HRW), the new year has begun much as the previous one ended – with exposure of another false accusation against Israel. In a vitriolic op-ed published on December 30 in the IPS’s online publication Foreign Policy in Focus, and reproduced widely, Roth accused Israel of “a campaign to undermine …. essential rules for protecting civilians caught in war.”

    The article is based on falsehoods and distortions, including the allegation that MK Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister and current leader of the opposition, urged Israeli forces to avoid distinguishing between combatants and civilians in the Gaza war. Roth highlighted Livni’s statement in the Knesset, “They don’t make a distinction, and neither should we” – a quote that would be quite damning, if it were accurate. But like most of Roth’s HRW’s claims regarding Israel, this one is more fiction than fact.

    Had Roth and HRW’s “researchers” checked the transcript instead of again repeating distortions manufactured by the Palestinian NGO known as Al Haq (see NGO Monitor’s analysis), they might have avoided this mistake. The transcript shows that Livni was criticizing MK Ahmed Tibi’s Knesset statement for heightening tensions between Israeli Jews and Arabs. When read in context, Livni clearly was not referring to the citizens of Gaza; rather, she was encouraging Israelis to embrace a common identity in the face of indiscriminate attacks from Gaza.

  3. Compromise with Muslims is impossible because the issue is not really about Jerusalem, oil revenues in Nigeria, Kashmir. Sudan, or Syria. It’s always about Islam. Their territorial claims are unlimited and uncompromisable because they are backed by Islam. No concession can ever suffice because Islam promises its followers not merely some land in Syria, Israel or India… but the entire world. And this is why Muslims are waging war on the borders of Israel, southern Russia, NW China, Nigeria, Kenya, southern Thailand and a dozen other places. It is not about Israel it is about Islamic supremacism.

  4. Quite right Zein. If Israel has done nothing wrong then why all the fuss? Why completely act guilty and all the gnashing of teeth and double-standards? For this is what Israel is doing and the US is showing great hypocrisy here. It’s great news though, I am delighted to see the state of Palestine join the ICC. Some people mistakenly call the move “unilateral” although as the 123rd state to join the Rome Statute – that is about a multilateral as one can get.

    • The reason for all the fuss is that the ICC is part of a corrupt, Pro-Arab institution that ignores Muslim atrocities in Syria, Iraq, etc…and focuses on a tiny yet thriving democracy in Israel that’s fighting for it’s survival.
      The U.N. has no credibility when it comes to Israel-Palestinian conflict. Kind of like yourself, Hess

      • Proving once again that you have no idea what you are talking about. The ICC was just fine with all you wingnuts when it was targeting the brown people of Africa. Yet suddenly, you have a conniption fit when it is your very salvation at stake. Admit it, you do not give a snit about justice. You are only concerned about a fabled Second Coming(tm) that is never going to come… Remember that it was a UN General Assembly resolution that allowed Israel to become a state. I’m quite looking forward to the next GA. Tee hee.

        • Couple of corrections (once again)
          1. I’m an Iranian Jew with Muslim blood in my family – not a “wingnut” as you divisive and hateful liberals suggest.
          2. The U.N. has changed a lot since 1948 when Israel was granted Statehood. The murder of 6 Million Jews is all but forgotten (or denied) among European and Arab countries.
          3. Not at all worried about the ICC. Over the past 60 plus years Israel seems to have G-d’s protection from Arabs seeking it’s destruction and misinformed liberals committed to it’s demise.
          Hess, may you find G-d and be liberated from your irrational hatred of Israel. And may you also learn to appreciate all of Israel’s contributions to society in technology, medicine, agriculture, etc….

          • Israel was not “granted” statehood. David Ben-Gurion declared Israel within the suggested borders of UNGA 181. Ben-Gurion gave assurances in not being interested in stealing more territory and with those assurances that is what President Truman then recognized. There is no invisible skydaddy. There never was. So you are just going to have to live with where things are going for Israel. It is very very bad. So bad that I am considering completely retiring because It Is So Over. It has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with the Crimes Against Humanity that Israel has committed since the Ethnic Cleansing of nearly a million Palestinians at its birth and a relentless military aggression in the quest to steal territory and resources at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine. Obviously it is not going to stand and the entire planet is not amused at Israel’s perfidy.

            Now you have a nice day “Todd”.

          • A few points:
            1. Ben-Gurion (and Israel) has every right to conquer a land, especially when that land is being used to launch an invasion that would “drive the Jews into the sea” and finish what Hitler started. Oh and as per the Bible and all historical accounts, the Jews are the true indigenous people as Judea and Samaria were there well before “Palestine” was.
            2. Things are pretty good for Israel. Powerful military, thriving democracy, economic prosperity, etc…But as far as you retiring from your ill-intentioned, anti-Israel campaign, may I suggest one of the many stable Islamic democracies in the Middle East like Syria, Lebanon, Iran or Iraq where you’re free to subjugate women, discriminate against homosexuals and completely deny freedom of speech & press to those that disagree with the government.
            3. I can see why you don’t want there to be a G-d. Based on you’re failed website and the hateful propaganda it spews – you’re in deep doggy poop!

          • Herr Hess,

            Muslims don’t have any land. The Middle East region was Judeo-Christian for thousands and hundreds of years before Islam appeared in the 7th century AD. Muslims are squatters on ancient Judeo-Christian land.

          • As he always does, the Jihadist Hess tells lies by mixing in some truth. He is correct that Israel was not granted statehood any more than any other country on earth was granted statehood. Statehood comes from the ability to control a specific piece of territory and defend borders. However, as he always does, Hess desperately shoves in a lie. Ben Gurion very specifically did NOT accept the borders of 181. He offered to do so on condition that Hess’ fellow Jihadis accepted them also. When they did not, he very specifically said that they were rejecting those borders and instead going back to the borders as offered under the Palestine Mandate, article 25 of which already granted 78% of the land for an Arab homeland, leaving just 22% for the Jews. Hess also pushed the tired ethnic cleansing lie which he knows is nonsense. If Israel truly engaged in ethnic cleansing, she would not have a million and a half Arabs within her borders. Nor would there be millions more in Judea/Samaria and Gaza. By comparison, his fellow Muslims engaged in actual ethnic cleansing by forcing some 800,000 Jews from their homes in Arab lands where they had lived for eons. Look at the pre 1948 numbers of Jews in most Arab countries and look at the numbers now and you can find the truth about ethnic cleansing.

      • Todd,
        I wish you would quite confusing Herr Hess with the facts.

    • It’s quite simple really: We know that you Jihadis will never actually submit to the court’s jurisdiction even though you are the ones committing actual war crimes. However, the court will politicize Israel defending herself against your incessant rocket attacks, which is not helpful in any situation.

    • Among the many many reasons, it equates a murderous apartheit group of terrorists with a nice peace loving productive member of the body of nations.

  5. Sam Davidoff-Gore says:

    Well written and analyzed. I’m excited to see how the international community responds. Hopefully, this will give the ICC a chance to really make itself a credible institution.

    • Sam, I often wonder how a human brain takes all information coming into it and changes reality into just the opposite. Beyond my comprehension what makes a lib brain like yours become so stupid.

      • Sam Davidoff-Gore says:

        Hi Arafat.

        I guess my stupidity stems from a number of factors. Of course I have to credit my parents who raised me to believe that there is no inherently “bad” group of people, that it’s wrong to stereotype and to generalize, to take facts and analyze them and look for the underlying issues rather than the easy but wrong assumptions that stem from mere glances at facts. Certainly my education has factored into my stupidity. Going to a good high school where I was able to take classes that challenged me to think differently about the world, to look at issues as multifaceted. I guess attending Brown has been a major influence on my stupidity. Taking classes on Islam, the Middle East, international relations, human rights, ethnic studies, etc., has really taken its toll on my brain. And the culture of Brown – don’t get me started – with its commitment to debate of ideas and social activism and justice, I can’t begin to explain how stupid I’ve become because I’ve been exposed to such an academically and socially stimulating and rigorous environment. But I think the final nail in the coffin that’s made me so stupid is my semester that I spent in Jordan. Being exposed to a society that’s majority Muslim and having such a wonderful time meeting such interesting people who were totally comfortable with my Judaism definitely has blinded me to reality. I should have listened to the ultra-Orthodox Jew I met in Jerusalem who told me that I wasn’t being a good enough Jew and that the Arabs were the enemy.

        Arafat, you’ve found me out. I’m just a stupid Brown student who should just go into my liberal blanket and hide from the world.

        • Sam writes, “I guess my stupidity stems from a number of factors. Of course I have to credit my parents who raised me to believe that there is no inherently “bad” group of people, that it’s wrong to stereotype and to generalize, to take facts and analyze them and look for the underlying issues rather than the easy but wrong assumptions that stem from mere glances at facts.”
          Well, Sam, my parents were no different.
          What you are unable to grasp is that I feel sorry for Muslims because they are born into a religion that emotionally and psychologically damages most of its followers. Pure and simple Islam is evil and Muslims are its first victims.

          • It doesn’t not damage MOST of it’s followers. Does the KKK represent most of Christianity?

          • The Muslim Game:

            Bringing other religions down to the level of Islam is one of the most popular strategies of Muslim apologists when confronted with the spectacle of Islamic violence. Remember Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber? How about Anders Breivik, the Norwegian killer? Why pick on Islam if other religions have the same problems?

            The Truth:

            Because they don’t.

            Regardless of what his birth certificate may or may not have said, Timothy McVeigh was not a religious man (in fact, he stated explicitly that he was agnostic and that “science” was his religion). At no time did he credit his deeds to religion, quote Bible verses, or claim that he killed for Jesus. His motives are very well documented through interviews and research. God is never mentioned.

            The so-called “members of other faiths” alluded to by Muslims are nearly always just nominal members who have no active involvement. They are neither inspired by, nor do they credit religion as Muslim terrorists do – and this is what makes it a very different matter.

            Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves choose to make.

            Muslims who compare crime committed by people who happen to be nominal members of other religions to religious terror committed explicitly in the name of Islam are comparing apples to oranges.

            Yes, some of the abortion clinic bombers were religious (as Muslims enjoy pointing out), but consider the scope of the problem. There have been six deadly attacks over a 36 year period in the U.S. Eight people died. This is an average of one death every 4.5 years.

            By contrast, Islamic terrorists staged nearly ten thousand deadly attacks in just the six years following September 11th, 2001. If one goes back to 1971, when Muslim armies in Bangladesh began the mass slaughter of Hindus, through the years of Jihad in the Sudan, Kashmir and Algeria, and the present-day Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq, the number of innocents killed in the name of Islam probably exceeds five million over this same period.

            Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 innocents in a lone rampage on July 22nd, 2011, was originally misidentified as a “Christian fundamentalist” by the police. In fact, the killings were later determined to be politically motivated. He also left behind a detailed 1500 page manifesto in which he stated that he is not religious, does not know if God exists, and prefers a secular state to a theocracy. Needless to say, he does not quote any Bible verses in support of his killing spree, nor did he shout “praise the Lord” as he picked people off.

            In the last ten years, there have been perhaps a dozen or so religiously-inspired killings by people of all other faiths combined. No other religion produces the killing sprees that Islam does nearly every day of the year. Neither do they have verses in their holy texts that arguably support it. Nor do they have large groups across the globe dedicated to the mass murder of people who worship a different god, as the broader community of believers struggles with ambivalence and tolerance for a radical clergy that supports the terror.

            Muslims may like to pretend that other religions are just as subject to “misinterpretation” as is their “perfect” one, but the reality speaks of something far worse.

          • No, but Christians (being their brother’s keeper) and non-Christians a like voiciferously condemn the KKK and they are quite austracised.

            Where were the arabs in the Paris march agains violence?

            Silence equates to support.

            No Christians (except KKK memebers) would take pictures of themselves in these hoods harasing people, but…

            I’ve seen many many pics of Quranderthals waivng n*zi signs and harassing Jews. I’ve even seen pics of arab leaders meeting with H*tler and planning how to get rid of Jews.

            Islam is NOT a religion of peace and it is time to stop the lie.

        • Sam writes, “Certainly my education has factored into my stupidity. Going to a good high school where I was able to take classes that challenged me to think differently about the world, to look at issues as multifaceted. I guess attending Brown has been a major influence on my stupidity. Taking classes on Islam, the Middle East, international relations, human rights, ethnic studies, etc., has really taken its toll on my brain.”
          Sam this is just so childish. You have a lot of growing up to do and don’t be embarrassed by my pointing this out. You’re a college kid and act like a slightly immature college kid. No shame in that.
          If you really believe the leftist professors at Brown understand Islam as opposed to simply embracing the false memes (and, in fact, promoting the false memes) that define your understanding [sic] of Islam than you truly do have a lot of growing up to do.

          • Sam Davidoff-Gore says:

            You’re right Arafat. I’m extraordinarily childish. I’m admitting my stupidity and my childishness. You win. Childishness is required to graduate from Brown.

          • Sam,
            Another childish comment. For you to assume maturity is necessary to graduate from an Ivy League school reveals just how flawed your thinking is. Sure it takes plenty of intelligence to get into Brown, but it does not follow from this that you understand what it is we are debating. In fact, your vapid attempts to respond to my comments suggest to me you are incapable of responding in an intelligent manner.
            All you are doing is turning this into a childish debate about you. The world does not revolve around you. The Issue of Islamic supremacism and violence has absolutely nothing to do with you, Sam. If you want to debate the subject at hand then go at it. But if instead you want to reply like a spoiled Ivy League brat that is also your prerogative. Either way I’ll call it as I see it.

          • Sam Davidoff-Gore says:

            Hi Arafat.

            This will be my last comment because you, as you are quite capable of doing, have drawn the focus of my original comment away from its purpose: applauding Zein for her insightful piece.

            I always forget that the commentors on these articles are rarely affiliated with Brown. I suppose you aren’t affiliated with Brown, given that all you do as Arafat is troll the internet looking for forums to spread your baseless vitriol. And I’m assuming you use an alias because either you are a massive troll who doesn’t want people to associate you with these views or you genuinely hold these views and recognize how horrible they are.

            I have tried to have a reasonable debate with you before, but I got tired because when I cited sources, you cited Huntington, who’s arguments are outdated and have resulted in dangerous foreign policy. Since you have not brought any intellect to any of your comments on this thread, I do not feel the need to respond at an academically heightened level. Instead, I lampoon your assumption that nuanced ideas are the result of stupid people and the corrupting influence of Islam.

            I’m sorry you have, or at least espouse, these terrible, uninformed opinions. It’s ideas like yours that show how much farther we need to go to eradicate prejudice and hate.

            Go take your hate somewhere else. Leave university newspapers for those willing to actually discuss important topics.

          • Sam,
            Yours is an unfair response, not unexpectedly. If you want to discuss this article than I look forward to it. But if instead you want to accuse me of things that are untrue and shut down any dialogue with me than that says more about you than it does about anything else.
            Pure and simple, Islam’s beef with Israel is no different than Islam’s beef with a dozen other countries in the world. The genocide of Animists in Sudan being a recent example of Islam’s true beliefs in action.
            I am not going anywhere. The Brown Herald’s tenor – and it is obviously reflective of the more general PC, leftist tenor found on campus and taught by professors disgusts me. It embraces those who would destroy your freedoms and even you if they (Islamic jihadists) were given the chance; and I will not stand down from this debate.
            Free speech’s most important purpose is to question the status quo and it is clear it is me who is doing that. You, on the other hand, define the PC, multiculturalist, left-wing status quo. And as is typical when I attempt to debate those who represent your positions you/they inevitably run away while accusing me of being things that I am not and also of misrepresenting what it is I have written.
            You can run away if that is your wont, but not for a second do I believe it is because you can defend your position so much as it is you cannot face the truth. The truth both about yourself and about Islam.

    • P. Nile Schwartz says:

      Brown hasn’t taught you to think analytically or objectively. Rather, you’ve been exposed to (and bought into) the usual government-issued Arabist ideology that has been empowered for a hundred plus years.

      An objective thinker rejects the State Department’s ‘captive nation’ propaganda, whereby its fascist (3rd Reich spawned) pets such as fatah and hamas need ‘liberating’ from those espousing civil and human rights.

    • MissCostello says:

      “excited”? How many years do you think this bone weary world has waited already, for the corrupt, spineless ICC to grow a backbone? Words fail.

    • Hey Sam,

      I don’t know if this changes your desire to argue with Arafat, but I always feel the need to inform people when I see him pop up over here. He doesn’t go to Brown. If you look at his comment history, he exclusively comments on Israel-related articles written in college newspapers. Not sure if he’s compelled personally to let liberal college students know they’re wrong about Israel, or if he’s paid to do so.

      • Hi, ’14, I see you are trying to discredit Sam with an ad hominem attack. It’s rather arrogant (and kind of creepy) of you to analyze the other person’s character. Is this how you interact with the world? do you constantly analyze them and keep track of their behaviour instead of engage with them in dialogue?

        This doesn’t sound like an open minded Brown student, but rather a creeper stalker…

        • I’m not trying to discredit Sam, as you say I did. I’m not even trying to discredit Arafat. I’m just wondering how worthwhile it is to engage with someone who devotes considerable amount of time to attacking anti-Israeli government articles in college newspapers (i.e. Arafat). If he deems it is worthwhile, by all means, go for it, and learn from the discourse.

          I don’t think my clicking on someone’s username is creepy. After you see the same user post on literally every Israel article, you start to wonder. There are similar people from pro-Men’s Rights Movement groups that post false rape accusation statistics on those types of articles.

          • Davidoff-Gore says:

            “I’m just wondering how *worthwhile* it is to engage with someone who
            devotes considerable amount of time to attacking anti-Israeli government
            articles in college newspapers” This very statement is an act of discrediting. Don’t even give anyone reason to perceive you are creepy.

  6. JerusalemPalestine2014 says:

    Israel is only defending its plunder, colonies and apartheid in Palestine, this is what you should tell those claiming Israel is defending itself

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