For several decades, the ICRC, leading the way for other like-minded NGOs, has waged a campaign of de-legitimization against the State of Israel.
For several decades, the ICRC, as the “official guardian” of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) (GC IV), has tried to make its interpretation of the document authoritative and binding internationally.
Using its exclusive position, it turned GC IV – which was intended to ensure the protection of civilians threatened by war and other conflicts – into a political sledgehammer against Israel.
It has turned a well-meaning document primarily concerned with humanitarian issues and the rights of “protected persons” in time of conflict into a political tool now designating the borders and make-up of new countries.
As such, it will always run into a legal brick wall in trying to impose its interpretation of the Convention on unwilling others.
Not satisfied with interpreting the Fourth Geneva Convention according to its own political bent, the ICRC has now expanded its own powers to begin handing out statehood to entities it deems as worthy in breach of the very international laws that form its own charter.
While prior to 1967, there was never any mention of a Palestinian identity (culture, people, nation), from around 1999, the word “Palestine” and “Palestinians” became part of the UN’s lexicon meant to create a virtual Palestinian state following a conference (in 1999) of the High Contracting Parties of GC IV meeting at the UN headquarters in Geneva where the ICRC has its headquarters.
Thus, because it was pursuing a pre-defined outcome, the ICRC ruled that the GC IV applied to what it chose to term the “Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.” Reaffirmed in 2001 at a similar conference, thanks to the ICRC, the term “OPT” became “official” even though this declaration has no basis in either international law or UUN Security Council resolutions.
For example, Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), refers to “territories occupied in the recent conflict,” but does not specify what those territories are. And, of course, nowhere in this resolution is the term “Palestinian” used.
Moreover, Resolution 242, as the basis of a binding ruling within UN Chrater which applies equally to all member states, also stipulates the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.”
Thus, based on a preference to reach a biased and pre-defined outcome, the ICRC interprets Security Council Resolutions 446 (1979) and 478 (1980), for example, refer to “the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem.”
This interpretation of the IRCR begs two questions: What is occupation, and to whom do these areas belong?
But even here, the ICRC’s favoured interpretations strike a sustained legal dissonance with the terminology of the Hague Convention of 1907 (Art. 43) itself, which defines occupation as “the authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant…”
Even the ICRC would agree that any reasonable definition of the term “occupation” applies to areas which were previously the sovereign territory of another state.
In the case of Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza, however, this is patently not the case.
Both territories were, in international law dating back to the 1920 San Remo Accords, League of Nations instruments including the British Mandate, and Article 80 of the UN Charter, illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively between 1948-1967.
The ICRC conveniently side-steps the fact that till 1967, there was no legitimate sovereign of the territory at the time, that Israel’s claims remain unique as the indigenous inhabitants of the land, and was within its legal rights to legitimately take that land back in a defensive action in 1967 based on the legally binding international agreements already mentioned above.
Unfazed by either historicity or international law, the ICRC continued to prosecute a strategy on behalf of a terrorist organisation in three stages.
Firstly, they expanded the concept of international armed conflict to cover essentially internal conflicts in which national liberation movements are engaged in a struggle against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes.
Secondly, they began to define the PLO as a “national liberation movement,” and Israel as a “colonial, alien and racist regime.”
And finally, they defined all Israeli actions as “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and in “violation of international humanitarian law” as determined by their own organisation’s definitions!!!
It’s an interesting ploy, but one which will not stand up to even mild scrutiny because it is so patently self-serving.
This UN backed process of making (unratified) laws and forming ‘ loaded’committees to suit its own purposes continues today with the appointment of William Schabas to head a three-member UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into events in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens on July 12, 2014.
If Schabas does indeed get to begin this task, his stewardship will be plagued with doubts and questions as to his imaprtiality as there are more than good grounds that the lawyer recuse himself from the panel on the basis of his documented anti-Israeli stands and pronouncements over the years.
For example, when asked very recently whether he considered Hamas a terror organisation, Schabas said it was inappropriate for him to offer an opinion on a matter like that.
This, however, did not prevent him from offering an opinion in the Russell Tribunal in 2013, that his favourite person to see criminally tried for the 2008-9 Gaza conflict would be Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
It did not appear to bother him that the Prime Minister at the time of Operation Cast Lead was Ehud Olmert, who under Netanyahu’s current term in office, is serving a six-year jail sentence for corruption…..
Overweening bias can make you forgetful and confused.
It is ‘little’ things like this that will continue to ensure that Israel will continue to prevail both on the battlefield and in the lawcourts and will continue to be the benchmark against which other armies around the world will be measured.
The ICRC does much good humanitarian work around the world.
However, with its political bias against Israel and its abuse of the unique role entrusted it under UN Charter, the ICRC is arguably an international enabler of anti-Israeli sentiment around the world.
Perhaps that could form the basis of a future blog.
Only yesterday, the unanimous adoption of resolution 2170 (2014), under the binding Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the UN Security Council condemned in the strongest terms what it called “gross, systematic and widespread abuse” of human rights by the terrorist Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front.
Now, to work on enabling the UNSC to convince the ICRC that it is required to change its focus to the true criminality and aggressions of the Sunni Islamic terror group Hamas in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict…..
( This article is based on the intellectual property of Moshe Dann )