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In 2015, Let’s Not Punish the Palestinians for Joining the ICC

Mahmoud Abbas signs international treaties including the ICC's Rome statute on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. (Photo: Alaa Badarneh/EPA)

A proposed New Year's Resolution: in 2015, let's not punish the Palestinians for joining the International Criminal Court. No doubt some Members of Congress - presumably, the ones who aren't busy resigning for felony tax evasion or defending themselves for schmoozing with white supremacists - will try to gin up an outrage festival and demand sanctions on the Palestinians for exercising their rights.

"Ring out the old, bring in the new." Let's ignore these voices. Let's see if we can find ten conscientious Members of Congress who are willing to say, "Actually, the Palestinians have the right to do this if they want, and they shouldn't be punished for signing up for the rule of law."

It's kind of funny, in a not ha-ha way, how twisted the public discourse in the U.S. is, that we even have to defend the proposition that the Palestinians should join the ICC if they want.

But we do.

Exhibit A: this New York Times editorial, slamming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for applying for Palestine to join the ICC.

The "liberal" NYT editors concede that "prospects for a two-state solution grow dimmer by the day, with ... the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, steadily expanding settlements, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state harder," and that "in joining the International Criminal Court...the Palestinians could bring charges against Israeli officials for cases against their settlement activities." But then - in complete contradiction to that which they just conceded - they claim that "Abbas's actions will almost certainly make the situation worse, setting back the cause of statehood even farther."

Sadly, like still-too-many American liberals, the NYT editors claim to oppose Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, but object far more strenuously to anyone actually trying to do anything concrete to stop it.

Is it any wonder that "prospects for a two-state solution grow dimmer by the day," when the purported tribunes of American liberalism oppose any practical and concrete measure to try to save it?

Fortunately, in 2015, we don't need to rely on the "liberal" New York Times to defend the basic principles of decency and fair play. We can do it ourselves. You can write to Congress and the President here.

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Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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