Peace, the PA and the ICC- Fighting Fire With Fire but not losing sight of the Prize

To fight fire with fire is the best way to counter and respond to Palestinian Authority (PA) move to bring charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel for war crimes. The PA’s decision to try Israel for war crimes I believe is misguided and foolish; This move into the international criminal court system only detracts attention and energy away from the important issues the PA and the Palestinian people must confront in building a Palestinian state. But the need to respond properly to this move is very important.

 Although the ICC process will bring heightened awareness to the issues surrounding a state of hostility between the parties, the PA essentially willfully mires itself in its victimhood and portrays itself as helpless in a struggle against overwhelming odds rather than a responsible player, an agent of change to create a State for the Palestinian people. This therefore is truly a misguided move and a squandered opportunity.

 However, it must be noted that the PA is seeking redress in the international world community through an established peaceful system. Although I do believe this is a wrong course of action for the PA to take, I must however praise the PA to use the peaceful means available to it. So I suggest that the appropriate Israeli response to this move is one of like kind.

 Israel too should file a complaint with the ICC, seeking redress for the crimes committed by Hamas and other entities in Gaza. Targeting civilian populations is a war crime or terrorist activity at best; planning ambushes and terrorist attacks against civilians are war crimes or terrorist activities at best; seeking to violently overthrow and eliminate an existing legitimate state is a war crime or a terrorist activity at best. The ICC would by necessity need to carefully consider the Israeli allegations and charges against those who are enemies. The gross hypocrisy of not considering the Israeli charges with the same seriousness and determination as the Palestinian charges could not be ignored and would completely undermine the ICC if it to occur.

 This approach does nothing to resolve the matters of creating peaceful coexistence. It does not eliminate those who are dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel. It does not help the process of peace or create bridges to building peace. It is however on the world stage a civilized approach to the particular arguments that exist surrounding the gruesome nature of war. To withhold transfer payments or payments of support to the PA seems to be an inappropriate response, a punishment for peaceful actions however politically motivated they may be. The truly important issue is to remember the ultimate end goal, two people living side by side in peace. That must remain the focus; both sides need to embrace this idea before any true progress can be made and the death and destruction of war might someday come to an end.

Rabbi David Levin

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