Mustafa Kaya: "ICC's decision on Palestine"

Mustafa Kaya: "ICCs decision on Palestine"
Date: 9.2.2021 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Mustafa Kaya writes on ICC and Israel. Here is the full article.

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The first instance chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) took a decision that actually surprised everyone recently. The court declared it competent for crimes committed in the Palestinian territories. In this direction, ICC explained that the Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem regions occupied after 1967 are also within its work areas. It has announced that Palestine is a party to the Rome Statute and will deal with allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and apartheid crimes committed in the aforementioned Palestinian territories.
Let's remember the Rome Statute again. As is known, the Rome Agreement is the acceptance of the establishment of the ICC by 120 countries on 17 July 1998. Turkey is not a party to the ICC. As this is a separate article, I will not go into the reasons for this now. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement due to the disputes in Ukraine. The United States first took part in the establishment of the ICC, but then signed it. As it will be remembered, Donald Trump, the former President of the United States, received sanctions against the ICC Attorney General and other prosecution officials for investigating allegations that American soldiers committed war crimes in Afghanistan with the decree dated 11 June 2020, which was severely condemned by the court.
So, how should the ICC's decision on Palestine be interpreted?
First of all, considering the statements from Palestine, everyone is very happy with this decision. Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammed Shtayyeh described the court's decision as "the victory of justice and humanity". In the statement made by HAMAS, it was stated that "This decision is an important step towards achieving justice". In addition, the same written statement said, "Necessary steps must be taken for the trial of Zionist war criminals in international courts." Emphasis on trust in ICC was also expressed in the same text.
On the other hand, there were reactions from the USA and Israel to this decision of the court. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "ICC has once again proved that it is a political body, not a judicial institution." In addition, Netanyahu claimed that the ICC did not do its part in Iran and Syria. In the US statement, it was stated that "We have serious concerns about the ICC's attempt to exercise its authority over Israeli personnel." In the meantime, Turkey expressed its satisfaction with the decision and supported the ICC.
In fact, this step of the court is important, as we have stated at the beginning. However, an expectation that it will solve all problems and end the occupation in the Palestinian lands will bring disappointments. Anyway, the court does not have the authority to say to Israel "Withdraw from the lands you occupied". It will only be able to examine the violations of rights and war crimes in the occupied territories. On the other hand, this decision will of course put pressure on Israel. It will cause them to be more cautious in the mentioned regions. However, Israel will try to manipulate the decision right after this time and make propaganda that it is the victim side. In fact, Netenyahu associated this decision with anti-Semitism in his first statement. With its power over the United States, Israel will make more claims of Palestinians committing war crimes. Therefore, it will try to put pressure on the ICC in this way and aim to limit the range of motion. Because Israel could even claim that it was committed war crimes from the demonstrations by Palestinian civilians along the border, even though Israel had repeatedly violated the 1949 Geneva Agreement and literally stole their land by piling up its citizens on Palestinian land. However, with this decision, the court will be able to examine the possible war crimes allegations of Palestinian organizations. Time will tell whether Palestinians will have the opportunity to seek rights retrospectively.
As a result, we can express this despite everything; The psychological advantage that this decision will create and the wide space it will open must be properly evaluated by the Palestinians. While making statements in favor of Palestine, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should remember its responsibilities and show the necessary support will with this decision of the ICC. When Trump decides to impose sanctions on the court, Western countries, especially Western countries, which reveal their reactions to the court, should also adopt the decision taken by the ICC and put forward a clear stance. This positive development must be transformed in favor of the Palestinians, as they deserve, by careful, clever and foresighted steps.


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