Jewish-American Princeton professor: ‘You want to bench Putin, but not Netanyahu?’

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ignoring US President Joe Biden’s warning that the US would cut off some arms supplies to Israel if it strikes Rafa, he enjoys another round of protection from the White House.

US senators and generals have rallied to reassure Netanyahu, who fears an International Criminal Court indictment for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Washington is reportedly trying to prevent the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor from bringing charges against Netanyahu, who would be put on the same footing as Milosevic and other Nazi officials.

The Biden administration’s response, instead of acknowledging that the International Court of Justice represents an independent effort to uphold the international rule of international law, said the “rules-based regulation” court lacked jurisdiction.

However, Washington’s arguments are legally and procedurally unfair, according to Kenneth Roth, a lawyer and professor at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

“Roth exposes the weakness of the American argument that ‘justice prevents peace'”

The US administration is deeply conflicted about the legal sins of its ally Israel, Roth says in his analysis of foreign policy.

“Traditionally, the United States has opposed granting Hague jurisdiction to citizens of states that have not acceded to the tribunal, even if the alleged crimes were committed on the territory of a government that is a member of the tribunal,” Roth said.

American duality

However, Washington’s hypocrisy became apparent after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when Washington’s objections to the International Court of Justice’s territorial jurisdiction suddenly collapsed in March 2023 when it used territorial jurisdiction to indict Russian President Vladimir Putin for crimes in Ukraine.

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US President Joe Biden said the charges were ‘fair’ and the US Senate unanimously agreed. “This makes sense because it is an essential aspect of sovereignty to deal with crimes on a country’s territory regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator,” says Roth.

So, according to the professor, as with Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the Biden administration should stand aside and allow the International Court of Justice process to operate in Palestine as well.

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu in the early days of the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.

“Palestine, as a recognized UN observer state, has given jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice, and court judges have approved Khan’s trial,” Roth reports.

However, given the weakness of the jurisdictional argument, the government is said to be retreating on procedural appeals. “We are quietly encouraging the International Court of Justice not to do that. It’s going to blow everything up,” a US official told Axios.

“This is the latest variation on the old argument that justice impedes peace — which implies that a leader facing criminal charges will continue to fight rather than accept the need for a settlement,” the Princeton professor comments.

Justice prevents peace

But history shows that war crimes indictments facilitate peace efforts by sidelining a rogue leader.

The same was true of the Dayton Peace Accords to resolve the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s.

The indictments against former Liberian President Charles Taylor, handed down by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, led to his swift loss of power and an end to violent conflict in Liberia that led to the emergence of a strong democracy.

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Thus, Kenneth Roth concludes, the hacking allegations against Netanyahu may have a similarly salutary effect, as his government is a major obstacle to a lasting ceasefire in Gaza.

It is noteworthy that Jewish-American Roth, who served as the head of Human Rights Watch, has criticized countries such as Bolivia, China, Croatia, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

When he received a research fellowship at Harvard, it was turned down due to pressure from the Israel lobby.

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