To further delegitimize Israel, advance their cause internationally, and pressure Israel to make dangerous concessions in the “peace process,” the Palestinians have attempted to condemn Israel in national and international tribunals. The Palestinian Authority has ostensibly acceded to membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, and has lodged complaints at the ICC claiming that Israel, its leaders, and soldiers should be prosecuted for various “war crimes” arising out of Israel’s 2014 Gaza operation to halt missile attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. The State of Israel is not a member of the ICC, which complicates its ability to formally respond to these complaints.
However, as a non-governmental organization, Shurat HaDin plays an important role in countering the Palestinians’ actions in the ICC. Among other efforts, Shurat HaDin has held a series of major conferences with academic and legal experts on the current state of the “laws of war,” promoting public awareness and debate on the standards that should be applied to evaluate Israeli military actions.
Additionally, in 2014 Shurat HaDin initiated a public campaign to deter the Palestinians from filing dishonest complaints by letting them know that the ICC’s jurisdiction reaches in all directions and would similarly apply to the Palestinians themselves. As such, victims who were killed or injured in Palestinian terrorist attacks launched from the West Bank and Gaza could file their own war crimes complaints against PLO and Hamas leaders. In turn, Shurat HaDin submitted several complaints to the ICC documenting international war crimes committed by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian leaders. Specifically, Shurat HaDin filed a war crimes complaint in the Hague against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the leader of Fatah and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal over the issue of Hamas executing 38 Palestinians in Gaza during the summer’s fighting. Shurat HaDin challenged the ICC to start an immediate investigation of Hamas and Fatah, noting that both Abbas and Mashaal are Jordanian citizens and the ICC already has jurisdiction over them.
Critics and academics consistently find fault with Israel while ignoring or rationalizing the behavior of other countries with far worse human rights records. What began in the 1970s as “holding Israel to a higher standard” on the part of the academic-left has mushroomed into today’s moral relativism. For example, the actions of Hamas terrorists who deliberately aim to murder Israeli civilians are equated with the Israel Defense Forces’ responses to these murder attempts.
Today, Shurat HaDin continues to press the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute against countries that flagrantly violate international law. While Israel’s critics readily apply one legal standard to Israel, and another to every other country of international concern, Shurat HaDin will continue fighting this blatant bias. As a human rights organization whose focus is not limited to Jewish causes, Shurat HaDin is bringing attention to the disparate standards to which Israel is held and also steering the wrath of Israel’s critics to more deserving targets, like the egregious human rights violators that exist in other places around the world.