Abbas Blocks Israeli War Crimes Investigation

Written by Subject: Israel - Palestine
Abbas Blocks Israeli War Crimes Investigation

by Stephen Lendman

He's a longtime Israeli collaborator. He performs enforcer services. He conspires against his own people.

He's a Palestinian Judas. He belongs in prison, not high office. He's well rewarded. He's hugely corrupt.

He amassed an huge fortune. He did so the old-fashioned way. Betrayal pays well. Palestinian suffering continues.

Abbas shares blame with Israel. He collaborates with the enemy. He's done so for decades. A previous article said he knew about Operation Cast Lead in advance.

He supported it. He asked Israel to crush Hamas. What did he know and when about Operation Protective Edge?

Why didn't he forthrightly denounce it? Why didn't he immediately sign the Rome Statute?

Why didn't he demand Israeli accountability? Why didn't he insist Israeli war criminals be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

Why does he consistently stonewall? Was he complicit with Israeli high crimes against peace? Does he belong in the dock with Israeli war criminals?

Collaborating with the enemy is treason! He did nothing to help beleaguered Gazans. He was largely silent during Operation Protective Edge.

His comments were weak-kneed, disingenuous, meaningless and insulting. He's indifferent to Palestinian suffering.

He balks at visiting Gaza. He refuses to observe Israeli high crimes against peace first hand. Or go all-out to help victims. Or unequivocally demand accountability.

There's more. On September 12, Al Jazeera headlined "Is the PA stalling Gaza war crimes probe?"

"There has been no international investigation into war crimes in Gaza so far. Leaked document may (explain) why."

Abbas-led PA officials blocked efforts to investigate Israeli high crimes against peace during Operation Protective Edge.

Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit obtained what it calls "a confidential letter."

It said top ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda "did not receive positive confirmation" from PA  Foreign Minister Riad Malki.

Its justice minister's request for an international investigation had no PA approval.

According to Al Jazeera:

"On July 25, PA Justice Minister Saleem al-Saqqa and Palestinian General Prosecutor Ismaeil Jabr submitted a letter to the ICC via a French law firm calling for an investigation."

"However, according to ICC regulations, 'only the Head of State, Head of Government and Minister of Foreign Affairs' can grant the international body jurisdiction to investigate."

"Twelve days later, FM Malki travelled to The Hague to meet top ICC officials: 'We must do everything within our power to enable the International Criminal Court to bring to justice those responsible for committing war crimes,' " he said.

He said one thing. He pursued another. On August 29, Bensouda discussed what she called "the truth about the ICC and Gaza," saying:

"Under the laws of the Hague court, my office can only investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine if it grants us jurisdiction in its territory. It has not done so."

In November 2012, the General Assembly upgraded Palestine to "non-member observer status."

It may "now join the Rome Statute," said Bensouda. It signed other international treaties. So far, RS isn't one of them.

It's their decision alone. "(A)s ICC prosecutor, I cannot make it for them," Bensouda stressed.

Why Abbas so far refuses he'll have to explain. He should have acted long ago. According to former ICC prosecutor Geoffrey Nice:

The document Al Jazeera obtained "shows that the Palestinian Authority either never authorized the original referral when it was brought on the 25th July by the Minister of Justice and the general Prosecutor, or that their decision has changed, or their decision has been changed for them or under pressure from someone else."

"The decision to do nothing clearly emerges from the meeting…with the (PA) foreign minister."

Heavy-handed US and Israeli pressure "convinced the PA leadership to refrain from 'pursuing…international forums' during" peace talks, post-Cast Lead, and other times demanding Israeli accountability.

After Operation Protective Edge, "both PA and Hamas officials agreed to ask the ICC to launch a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both sides during the conflict," said Al Jazeera.

On September 10, Israel said it would launch its own "independent investigation" on two major incidents only.

Doing so ignores hundreds of others. It assures whitewash either way. It denies accountability.

It assures justice denied. Whenever Israel investigates itself, victims are blamed for its crimes. Don't expect this time to be different.

According to international law expert Rodney Dixon, "an ICC investigation could be delayed."

Bensouda may defer investigating Israeli war crimes. She may wait to determine "whether an investigation by Israel is genuine, and covers the same persons and conduct of any potential ICC investigation."

"If she is satisfied (with) these requirements, (she) may well lose jurisdiction to investigat(e)."

At issue is why Abbas, Malki and other PA officials failed to grant Bensouda authorization to investigate.

Why haven't they signed Rome Statute? Why aren't they pursuing justice?

Why did they betray their people? Why are they effectively complicit with Israeli crimes?

On Friday, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged PA leadership to sign the Rome Statute. It's required to hold Israel accountable in the ICC.

"(S)igning the Rome Statute is the right for every victim and stalling is neglecting their rights and an offense to the image of Palestinians," said Haniyeh.

He urged Abbas to sign it straightaway. In August, Hamas proposed Palestinian ICC membership.

Abbas failed to pursue it. According to noted Palestinian lawyer Saad Djebbar, he "missed a golden opportunity" to hold Israel accountable.

Friends of Al Aqsa is UK-based. It's "concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem."

It wants Israel held accountable for crimes too grave to ignore. Its chairman Ismail Patel condemned PA inaction.

He called Abbas' lack of commitment "inexcusable."

"It is appalling that…the Palestinian Authority's obligation to join the ICC and bring Israel to account is being squandered by a select few of its leaders who put their own political interests ahead of the needs of their people," he said.

It bears repeating. Collaborating with the enemy is treason. Abbas is guilty multiple times over.

He's Israel's enforcer. He facilitates occupation harshness. He's done nothing to hold Israel accountable.

He works against the interests of his own people. He's complicit with Israeli high crimes against peace.

He helps Israel get away with genocidal mass murder and destruction.

Foiling a Gaza war crimes probe shows where he stands. Why Palestinians tolerate him they'll have to explain.

They deserve responsible leadership. They deserve their interests represented.

They deserve Israel held accountable for its crimes. They deserve long denied justice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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