Authors: Harry and Gidon Ben-Zvi
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement that it would pursue a war crimes probe against Israel over the summer war in Gaza is but the latest twist in the quixotic quest to end the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Israel’s 2005 de-facto partition via unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip set the spark that lit the flame that led to Operation Protective Edge, for which the government of Israel is to be investigated for by the ICC.
One can make the argument that the presence of 8,000 Jewish men, women and children who lived in Gaza until the 2005 withdrawal did not contribute to a peaceful resolution between Israel and her neighbors. However, during the occupation no rockets were hurled from Jewish kindergartens at Arab homes; no tunnels were dug with the intention of executing acts of mass murder and no Jewish men, women or children were kept in Gaza against their will.
Since the partition, meant to facilitate Arab self-government, Hamas has created a terrorist caliphate that rules at the expense of 1.7 million Arabs in Gaza.
Hamas-ruled Gaza is defined by corruption, stagnant economic growth, rampant poverty, high unemployment, high illiteracy rates, high mortality rates, suppression of the press, as well as discriminatory policies against women, gays and other minorities.
Moreover, billions of dollars in foreign aid meant to build infrastructure for Gaza residents (roads, power grids, schools, sewage, transit, etc.) have been siphoned off by local oligarchs to build villas, pad foreign bank accounts and transform the Strip into one giant forward base of operations for an ongoing war of extermination against Israel.
The ICC may want to take account in building its case against Israel that the country it intends to prosecute for war crimes created the overwhelming majority of existing infrastructure in Gaza.
The International Criminal Court’s decision effectively rejects a century of Jewish reconciliation efforts: acceptance of partition, failure to annex and populate the West Bank and the recognition of a new independent Arab entity in areas known until very recently as Judea and Samaria.
Tragically, partition has served the interests of neither Israelis nor Gazans. Quite the contrary, it has both condemned nearly two million people to a fate worse than death on one side and placed nearly eight million people within range of rocket fire on the other.
Israel, a vibrant, thriving – if wildly imperfect – exercise in Middle East democracy, will weather the tempest in a teapot being kicked up by a pack of lawyers in The Hague.
However, this is a dark day for those forsaken men, women and children living under Hamas’s jackboot of hate and terror.
The ICC, by delegitimizing one sovereign nation’s right to defend itself, has granted the Islamist Jihadists cover to commit acts of exceptional barbarity inside the Gaza Strip – and unleash another wave of violence against Israel and its allies in the near future.
Read other United with Israel pieces by Gidon Ben-Zvi here.