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Waging Lawfare Against Israel

In Europe anti-Zionist activists are abusing national and international law in a coordinated campaign designed to chip away at Israel’s national legitimacy

The term ‘lawfare’ was originally coined by retired USAF Major General Charles Dunlap to describe: “the strategy of using – or misusing – law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective.” And in recent years Israel’s political enemies have seized upon lawfare with great alacrity in their campaign to vilify and delegitimise Zionism.

This week the Palestinian Foreign Ministry announced its intention to submit a file of anti-Israel allegations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. PA Foreign Ministry spokesman Ammar Hijazi noted that this file is “draws a grim picture of what Israel is doing and why we think there are reasonable grounds” for ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to file war crimes charges against the IDF.

Hijazi concedes that the file is only “general and only statistical”, without any specific reference to particular allegations. But Ms Bensouda has already commenced a preliminary investigation into the IDF’s actions in Gaza and the Palestinians have said they would be pleased to submit detailed allegations if required.

The previous ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, gave short shift to attempts by anti-Zionist elements to politicise the Court by means of spurious war crimes accusations against Israel. We should monitor the situation closely to see whether Ms Bensouda perpetuates Mr Ocampo’s wise policy.

And in similar news, former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General (retired) Shaul Mofaz was in some jeopardy of arrest upon his arrival in the UK to speak at the Jewish News conference in London. Over the past decade anti-Israel groups have exploited a provision of British law that enables arrest warrants to be issued on allegations of purported war crimes committed overseas. Such a warrant was issued in 2009 for Tzipi Livni. In 2005 retired Major General Doron Almog was forced to remain aboard an ELAL aircraft at Heathrow for fear of arrest if he stepped off the plane. Almog was visiting the UK to participate in a charitable fundraiser to benefit disabled children, but returned to Israel without setting foot on UK soil. On another occasion, Mofaz and former Defence Minister Amir Peretz were forced to leave London prematurely upon word that warrants for their arrest were pending in the English courts.

Prime Minister David Cameron amended the relevant UK law in 2011 with the object of forestalling such blatant politicisation of the British courts. But clearly loopholes in this legislation still remain. Now that Prime Minister Cameron enjoys the fruits of majority government in his own right we hope he’ll move expeditiously to complete the job of nullifying these avenues that allow such partisan abuse of British legal system.

Meanwhile on the diplomatic front, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has recommended that the Palestinian Authority rescind the diplomatic recognition of Israel it granted in 1998. According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Erakat made this recommendation in a 56-page report where he argues that the PA should withdraw recognition until Israel recognises a Palestinian State. Erekat also urged that the PA reject any proposal for the placement of Israeli troops along the Jordan Valley and that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should be invited to join the PLO executive committee. And to cap it off he also advocated support for a boycott against all Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria.

But on a more optimistic note, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called upon the French Muslim community to muster enough courage to “name the enemy”.

*Photo: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls Addressing the French Parliament