Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for war crimes allegedly committed during the 50-day war with Hamas and other Gaza terror groups last summer.
In the request filed with the Dutch Embassy Thursday morning, Abbas asked the court in The Hague to investigate Israel retroactively for alleged war crimes starting from June 13, 2014 — a day after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by a Hamas cell in the West Bank, an unnamed NGO worker told Haaretz.
The petition to the court was submitted after Abbassigned the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, on Wednesday evening, and filed a request to become a member state. That request will be processed over the coming weeks.
Earlier on Thursday, the Palestinians submitted letters of accession to 20 international treaties, including the Rome Statute, to Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, James W. Rawley, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported..
A day earlier, the UN Security Council rejected a resolution calling for Palestinian statehood and Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
Israeli analysts have highlighted a long and highly complex processahead before the ICC could move to file indictments against Israeli figures for alleged war crimes.
According to the Palestinian NGO worker who spoke to Haaretz, top Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials said they are willing to risk prosecution by the international court, provided an official investigation into Israel’s alleged war crimes is conducted.
During the Gaza war, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat signed top Palestinian officials on a document stating they agree to Palestine joining the ICC, knowing that in response Israel might file a counter-complaint for war crimes against Palestinians.
Palestinians have unsuccessfully filed complaints against Israel to the international court in the past, but it had no jurisdiction over the territory where the alleged crimes occurred.
In a conversation with Haaretz, a PLO official underscored the importance of joining the court, saying that official membership would allow Palestinian civilian bodies to file complaints against Israel without having to wait for the bureaucracy of the Palestinian Authority.
Erekat said Israeli settlement construction and expansion will be at the top of the Palestinian agenda at the ICC proceedings, Wafa reported.
Jerusalem reacted angrily Wednesday to the Palestinians’ decision to join the International Criminal Court, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of “steps in response.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had long threatened to make this move, which many considered his doomsday device against Israel.
But those who are familiar with the workings of the Hague-based court know that the route to convicting Israelis for war crimes or crimes against humanity is long and complicated.
According to some experts, it is unlikely that the ICC would even launch criminal proceedings against prominent Israelis for actions and policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Even if it did, and eventually issued indictments, it would take many years before any convictions were handed down.
In the best-case scenario for Israel, the Palestinians’ intended complaints against Israeli officials will be little more than a nuisance, causing some bad press.
And will the ICC advance the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestine, presumably Abbas’s prime goal? Not a bit.
Contrary to what some headlines have suggested, Abbas will not be able to sue Israel at the ICC. It’s a criminal court, which means that only the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, can decide who gets indicted.
What the Palestinians can do is submit complaints to the court — which they have actually been doing for years. To date, the court has not had jurisdiction over the territory on which the alleged crimes occurred.
By signing the Rome Statute, which governs the court, the Palestinians on Wednesday took the first step toward membership in the court, though it takes two months before the treaty enters into force. If they are accepted as members — and it is not certain that they will — “Palestine” can start formally lodging complaints against Israel that will be considered seriously by the court.
Before the prosecutor looks at the complaints and decides whether to launch a preliminary examination, she will have to establish that the Palestinians indeed qualify for membership in the court. Only states can join the court, and experts disagree on the question of whether “Palestine” is enough of a real state to be eligible. In order to determine whether “Palestine” is indeed entitled to accede to the court, Bensouda will likely launch a process of consultations, over the course of which she might seek to deliberate the question with other countries and international bodies.
Once it is established that Palestine is indeed a member of the court, and once it files complaints against Israelis, the prosecutor can decide whether to launch a preliminary examination into the accusations. She is by no means obligated to do that, and might decide not to touch the issue at all.
It is quite likely that Bensouda would in fact open a preliminary examination, experts said. But even if she did, a full investigation would still be far from imminent.
“I assume that they will start a preliminary examination,” said Robbie Sabel, a professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “But the prosecution will soon find that it’s an entirely political issue, and unless Israel goes mad and decides to start committing mass atrocities, which it won’t, the prosecutor will be reluctant to proceed with an actual criminal investigation.”
The truth does not count, important is only who control the narrative – its amount and intensity. This operation repeated day after day of even the most idiotic narrative makes you start to get used to it. It is slowly become something acceptable, normal and finally something for what you’re gonna fight as a useful idiot, as Kiev pawns bombing civilians in eastern Ukraine in the name of a few most rich guys on the planet like Poroshenko, $1.3 Billion according to Forbes
Events in Ukraine show that, at this point, more than the military war, it is an information warfare. People are becoming more and more divided on those who support New Russia and those who support Kiev. This conflict, from the Wild Fields of Ukraine spreads to the Baltic countries and divides people more and more. This issue is well reflected by a war correspondent David Hudziec from Novorossiya Today – staying in Donetsk. He gave me an interview and told me about the situation in the New Russia:
This is a policy aimed at the fact that if we (New Russia) cannot be presented as freaks – then you have to mute us completely. If we will have access to the media, we will have the opportunity to talk with them (Kiev side). We can reasonably prove their gaps in logic, their lies and show the other side. This is a huge threat for their policy. Do not allow for the dialogue between people on both sides. Because It could prove that there is no one to fight at the front
Quite notable example of this policy is a situation in which a woman resident of New Russia Debalcew speaks in Ukrainian television that the Ukrainian army is firing on residential areas by means of Grad – multiple rocket launcher system. The reporter then would not let her finish. And standing next to her Maidan people shouting “Glory to Ukraine”, “Glory to the nation, death to the enemy”, make her speech audible.
I learned about this kind of ‘silencing’ when I wanted to conduct an interview with the Kiev side. Just to cover both sides of the conflict. Two journalists on the Ukrainian side refused to give me an interview.
The narrative used in the Baltic States embodies the policy of Paul Wolfowitz. The so-called ‘ordinary people, politicians and less wise journalist spread this doctrine with great conviction. Often without even knowing about the existence of someone like Paul Wolfowitz and US first-strike policy.
Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges stated that we must stop Russian aggression. As a result the
American soldiers will remain in Poland and the Baltic states for the next year.
The US Senate approved in the first reading the draft law, according to which henceforth Ukraine has the status of an American ally, without holding membership in NATO. This bill requires from the US, in the case of direct military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the incursion of troops to the territory of an allied country to fight against ‘the Russian enemy’.
I asked David Hudziec, who is a Novorossiya Today correspondent, staying in Donetsk, what are the people think about the provision of the above the US Senate statement. This provision in its consequences can fabricate any evidence of the presence of Russians in Ukraine in order to have a pretext for the official NATO invasion on New Russia and consequently escalation of the conflict with Russia.
As for the military, this fragmentation concerns one issue what to do next. Part of them want to defend the Donbass. On the other hand, we have volunteers from Russia and European countries, they did not come here to save half of the territory. They came to just to go and overthrow the fascist junta in Kiev. Here we have the latter approach, that is aggressive. In general, morale is the following; soldiers will fight and not give up. The only difference in their hostile attitude towards these forces on the other (Kiev) side.
We will accept the first strike and then we’ll do it as before. We will go to the counter to cirque and so on. But what will the West do then? – That is the question. If the Ukrainian army will be destroyed by the New Russia, then Russia will be blamed for that.
According to David’s Hudziec report (Novorossiya Today correspondent, staying in Donetsk), the Kiev side have been pulling all their forces to the border for about three weeks. Ukrainians have started using Grad very often. (Grad multiple rocket launcher system)
Previously, they used Grad only in the course of the attack, or a single fire. They have been using them as a primary weapon for last three or four days. In addition, they have also started to use a new weapon – I hear other kind of explosions than usual.
Grad rockets hit civilian buildings where people continue living on a daily basis.
The deputy director of the Department of Information and Press of the Russian Foreign Ministry commented on the recent attack on Russian journalists in Kiev, saying that the West is not aware of the spread of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, because Kiev does not let journalists reveal the full extent of the problem.
"It is a vicious circle: Kiev blocks the work of Russian journalists, who are trying to draw attention to manifestations of neo-Nazism [in Ukraine], and the West (both the leadership and the public) does not see these manifestations and the violations of freedom of speech. It's a terrible trend," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page Friday.
According to the spokesperson, the West regularly claims that Russia exaggerates neo-Nazi manifestations, taking place in Ukraine, but these claims are due to the fact that "Western channels do not show torchlight marches in central Kiev and do not report on true facts from the biography of Stepan Bandera".
On Thursday, hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Ukrainian capital, carrying torches to mark the birthday of Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera, who lived in the first half of the 20th century and, with initial German support, worked to establish a unified Ukrainian state that would be inhabited exclusively by ethnic Ukrainians.
During the Thursday rally, dedicated to Bandera, two Russian LifeNews journalists, covering the event, were attacked, according to the TV channel.
Russia has repeatedly stressed that outbursts of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine have become widespread. Far-rights group were actively involved in the February coup in Kiev and in the military operation, launched by Ukrainian authorities last spring against predominantly Russian-speaking South-East of the country.
Two Russian journalists have been attacked, beaten and robbed during a radical torchlight march in central Kiev. Thousands took to the streets in the Ukrainian capital for the birthday anniversary of radical nationalist WWII leader.
The rally was dedicated to Stepan Bandera, the figure which is officially banned in Russia as extremist.
A reporter and a cameraman of LifeNews media outlet were attacked during the march.
Deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press department Maria Zakharova condemned the assault on the Russian journalists via Facebook post.
"A new attack on Russian journalists is another glaring fact of press persecution in Ukraine,” Zakharova wrote. The attack she says is the manifestation of “gross violation of the fundamental principles of freedom of speech.” Zakharova blamed Kiev authorities for not providing safe work environment for the press, adding that the journalists asked for police help, but were sent away.
All in all, the rally attracted about 2,000 people representing the Ukrainian radical right-wing movements, according to Interfax-Ukraine.
Some protesters wore World War II military uniforms, while others draped themselves in the red and black nationalist flags, chanting "Ukraine belongs to Ukrainians" and "Bandera will return and restore order."
The march ended at Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) with leaders of radical Svoboda party and Right Sector group addressing the crowd.
The Svoboda party leader said they are going to push for Bandera getting the title of Ukraine’s Hero.
Similar marches but on a much lesser scale took place in the cities of Lvov and Dnepropetrovsk.
Stepan Bandera collaborated with the Nazi German forces during the Second World War, but was later arrested by the Germans and spent years in a concentration camp.
He is regarded as a highly controversial figure in the Ukrainian society. In 2010, President Viktor Yushchenko gave him the title of Ukraine’s Hero, but in the same year, the Donetsk administrative court canceled the decision, calling it unlawful.
The treaty establishing the Eurasian Union entered into life on Thursday (1 January).
It includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, with Kyrgyzstan to join in May.
Modelled on the EU, it has a Moscow-based executive body, the Eurasian Economic Commission, and a political body, the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, where member states’ leaders take decisions by unanimity.
It has free movement of workers and a single market for construction, retail, and tourism.
Over the next 10 years, it aims to create a court in Minsk, a financial regulator in Astana and, possibly, to open Eurasian Economic Commission offices in Astana, Bishkek, Minsk, and Yerevan.
It also aims to launch free movement of capital, goods, and services, and to extend its single market to 40 other sectors, with pharmaceuticals next in line in 2016.
Ukraine was originally to join, but a popular revolt last year overthrew its Russia-friendly president and its new government signed a free trade treaty with the EU instead.
Vladimir Chizhov told EUobserver: “Our idea is to start official contacts between the EU and the EAEU as soon as possible. [German] chancellor Angela Merkel talked about this not long ago. The EU sanctions [on Russia] are not a hinder”.
They also prompted the EU and US to accelerate talks on their own free trade treaty to strengthen Western ties.
Central bank preparing for economic calamity?
The Federal Reserve is set to hire an “emergency preparedness specialist” familiar with “Homeland Security directives” and Hazmat procedures according to a post on the official Fed Careers Twitter account.
The job posting has raised eyebrows because it was made at around the same time that the Treasury Department announced it was set to spend $200,000 dollars on survival kits to be delivered to every major bank in the United States which would include a solar blanket, food bar, water-purification tablets, a dust mask, bandages and medicines amongst numerous other items.
The position description requires that the individual serve “as the coordinator in the Management Division (MGT Div.) for emergency preparedness, encompassing the development, coordination, and implementation of: unified planning, disaster preparedness, response and recovery, policies and procedures, emergency preparedness and exercise program training for Board staff.”
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