Obama hamstrung by Israel lobby on Palestinian bid at ICC: Analyst
Written by Taiwo Adediran on June 26, 2015
The Obama administration is “hamstrung” by the Israel lobby into opposing a Palestinian bid to bring Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Gaza, says an investigative journalist.
“AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) clearly has total control of the US Congress at least through Obama’s cabinet. Whether or not he is for or against it… he is going to be hamstrung to do anything about it,” Shane Matthews, a writer and investigative journalist, said it today.
He made the remarks in a phone interview when asked about the US opposition to a bid by the Palestinian Authority to prosecute Israel for war crimes in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court (ICC), detailing Israeli war crimes in Gaza as well as its illegal settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (al-Quds).
The United States has “made clear that we oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said on Thursday.
Matthews said those comments reflect the White House’s position that “countries we agree with are allowed to prosecute for war crimes, but countries that we don’t, or that Israel does not like, they are not allowed.”
“It’s disingenuous and it’s also obviously a double standard in the way the ICC was basically going to be used,” he added.
“I think you have seen a lot of so-called international institutions that become ineffectual and have a double standard to the extent that they don’t prosecute war crimes if they are committed by either the US or Britain or European countries or Israel obviously,” Matthews noted.
“You’ll also see, in the case of the UN, how it is that the bulk of all the countries around the world support Palestinian sovereignty and statehood, but there is only one vote against that and that is usually coming from the US, sometimes the UK as well, but ultimately it’s predominantly the US which is the largest backer and supporter of Israel both militarily, financially and politically,” he stated.
The journalist said the US support for Israel is “exasperating and inflaming countries in the Middle East.”
The United States ultimately will not support “anything that the Palestinians might do in bringing their case to international justice criminal prosecution like the International Criminal Court or anywhere else and so,” Matthews concluded.
Human rights monitor Amnesty International said in April that the Israeli regime committed war crimes during the latest war on the besieged Gaza Strip.
Over 2,140 Palestinians, including a large number of women, children, and the elderly, were killed in the 50 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which began early in July 2014.