Lawmaker Rips US Opposition to ICC Probe of Israel

Rashida Tlaib said the international court has a duty to investigate and deliver justice to victims of human rights violations and war crimes in Palestine.

Flares from Israeli forces in night sky over Gaza City, July 28, 2014. (UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Responding to the Biden administration’s opposition to the International Criminal Court’s investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes in Palestine, Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday defended the probe while reminding the administration that “no one is above the law.” 

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. “firmly opposes” the ICC investigation while vowing to “continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.” In addition to alleged Israeli crimes, the probe will also examine war crimes allegedly committed by the militant Palestinian resistance group Hamas. 

State Department spokesperson Ned Price asserted the same day that the ICC — of which neither Israel nor the U.S. are member states — has “no jurisdiction over this matter.” 

However, Tlaib (D-Mich.) issued a scathing rebuke of the administration’s position, tweeting “no one is above the law” and that the ICC “has the authority and duty to independently and impartially investigate and deliver justice to victims of human rights violations and war crimes in Palestine and Israel.”

“The U.S. should not interfere with its ability to do so,” insisted Tlaib, the first Palestinian American elected to Congress. 

On Wednesday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda confirmed the decision, announced early last month, to launch a formal investigation of “the situation in Palestine,” including three major wars in Gaza that killed thousands of people — most of them civilians. 

Bensouda said on Wednesday that the court’s decision “followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years,” while vowing her office “will take the same principled, non-partisan approach that it has adopted in all situations.” 

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s far-right prime minister, called Bensouda’s announcement “absurd” and—in a tactic often employed in attempts to delegitimize criticism of Israeli policies and actions—”undiluted anti-Semitism.” 

Palestine advocates welcomed the ICC probe, while condemning U.S. opposition to it.

“Blinken is flat out wrong on every point he makes,” wrote Middle East expert Juan Cole. “The ICC is not investigating crimes on Israeli soil, but in the Palestinian occupied territories. Since Palestine as a permanent U.N. observer state is a member of the ICC and invited the court into its territory, the International Criminal Court has every right to investigate violations of the Rome Statute that took place in those territories.”

“The ICC is not treating Israel unfairly,” asserted Cole. “It will also look at Hamas violations. Moreover, it isn’t unfair to investigate a country for committing war crimes when it has actually, like, committed war crimes.”

“Blinken already let the crown prince of Saudi Arabia off without sanctions for murdering Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi,” he added. “Now he is running interference for Netanyahu. He is quickly becoming the face of American hypocrisy, which only wants sanctions on Russians and Iranians who are rivals but never on officials from countries that talk nice about the U.S.”

Last year, the ICC also approved a probe of U.S. war crimes, including unlawful killing and torture, in Afghanistan. The Trump administration retaliated by sanctioning ICC prosecutors Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko.

This article is from Common Dreams.

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23 comments for “Lawmaker Rips US Opposition to ICC Probe of Israel

  1. robert e williamson jr
    March 6, 2021 at 14:48

    Great to see so many willing to apply pressure to the new administration and party who seem to have lost their way. Completely?

    At the risk of offending the sensibilities of certain groups. If you all don’t want to be pilloried change your ways.

    You desire to be treated civilly treat others civilly.

    To the POTUS. Joe take a long look in the mirror. At this point in your life do you really want or expect Americans to ignore the blood on your hands. It is real and cannot be hidden,.

    You got elected by being a default choice. Don’t ever forget that.

    Like I said earlier you want a second term, you need to buck up and move to the left. You and your VP.

    I often refer to my age. To let everyone know I’m ashamed that my peers and I have left this mess for our kids and grand kids by not challenging our fake government sooner.

    Our current CIA must be held accountable for the last 70 years of turmoil as dictated by the financiers of the Deep State.

    Thanks CN

    • March 8, 2021 at 10:12

      mr. robert e williamson jr, I couldn’t agree more but you might be crying in the wind with your call, but I heard it and let me say again – I agree.
      Still, it ain’t like they can just suddenly shift one way or the other….that is not how real justice works. Real justice gets dished out to the offenders, and we all know. So, its not too late for your generation, but some of you all need to get off your asses. No offense meant cause I know you have already and I respect that.

  2. Anne
    March 6, 2021 at 11:22

    I would only add this…Yesterday, on the BBC World Service as broadcast by NPR, the piece on the news regarding the Pope’s visit toIraq spoke about the reduction of the Iraqi Christian community as down to ISIS (which it was)….Today the Beeb never mentioned ISIS, but when reporting on the Pope’s visit with the Iraqi Shia Grand Ayatollah Al Sistani, spoke of the attacks on Iraqi Christians as being committed by “Shia militias.” Hmmm. And then NPR’s reporter/correspondent Ms Poggoli when talking of the Pope’s visit with Al Sistani the culprit was again ISIS – as it was. But given the links twixt the US, IS and UK secret agencies, and the incredible amount of Orwellian Newspeak spouted by both the BBC and NPR (all in service to their governments desires), it seems to me that the intention is to paint ISIS as Shia and thereby linked to Iran. The intention, hope being that most in the target audience populations will have forgotten who REALLY constitute(d) ISIS (extremist, Saudi etc backed SUNNIs), and their mindset deflected toward Shia Islam and Iran….Has anyone else noticed this???

  3. Zalamander
    March 5, 2021 at 23:30

    First B’tselem’s game changing report on Israeli apartheid and now the ICC investigations of Israeli war crimes. will justice finally pevail for Palestine?

  4. Guy
    March 5, 2021 at 22:02

    Hypocrisy is not new to the US administration terrain and on both sides of the isle .

  5. RomeoCharlie29
    March 5, 2021 at 19:08

    From the first words out of his mouth, it was obvious Blinkered would be a dud. Shame on Joe for appointing him. For outsiders just more of the same bullshit about American exceptionalism when, by practically every metric, it is a failed state. Joe, ( and other supporters of Israel) time to cut Netanyahu and his ilk adrift.

  6. March 5, 2021 at 18:10

    Unless and until humanity comes to the historical turning point where one, and only one, global legal institution – the obvious choice being the International Criminal Court – deals with war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide etc. on the full agreement and participation of every nation on Earth, the far less-than-ideal (current) situation of impunity (freedom from punishment) for the worst possible harms persists.


  7. robert e williamson jr
    March 5, 2021 at 15:22

    Now I get it. The reason Biden laid off Trump after the election. Pretty obvious he didn’t want to be open to criticism from the right wing fanatical republicans, for criticizing Trump at the same time the Biden administration would be picking up Pompeo’s torch to bear it for Israel. Unbelievable.

    >>>> peon d. rich you best believe you see a pattern here <<<<

    Biden is surely a friggin' full blown zionist neo-con. Please Dog give me strength.

    Uncle Joe the rest of the world is still watching the U.S. and you are giving them an eye full.

    What is it the potus don't understand about becoming and even larger part of the problem by going lock step with "Benny the Blade" and the Israeli government.

    I'm beginning to wonder already if the lesser of the two evils is actually that much different than the guy who claimed he could stand on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it, then played a major role in letting the pandemic gather run-away strength resulting in over 500 thousand U.S. deaths. Deaths he apparently will avoid any responsibility for. SEE his 5th Avenue prophecy.

    So much for U.S. exceptionalism. The U.S. government having failed it's people with respect to responding in a responsible fashion to the Covid attack. Then having the new president doubling down by siding with renegade Israel against the ICC.

    Let us get this straight POTUS JOE the U.S. being inline with ICC would be a great thing for the country. That way the rest of the world could aid the average American in escaping the super confining trusses of the Intelligence / Deep State.

    Joe hear this, if you stand up on prime time TV and lie to me and other Americans on the scale of the Village Idiot from Crawford Texas you will need to be called before the ICC yourself.

    As the U.S. is bound to eventually learn, taking the appropriate medicine isn't always a pleasant experience. Especially when that medicine is the same as the medicine the U.S. has been peddling for the last 70 years to everyone else. The obviously, oblivious , unexceptional, hyper-hypocritical U.S. Government, doing what it seems to do best these days. Lying, something it excels at in an exceptional manner.

    I'm very weary of hearing the constant lie that the U.S. is a nation of laws. Bull Shit! Pure B.S. and ignoring the ICC proves it. If one has nothing to hide, as in "wrong doing" then what could be the issue here?

    Leaving renegade governed Israel standing alone to clean up it's own messes? WOOPSIE cats outta the bag.

    And I am all for it!

    I wonder just how many Americans feel the way I do, that is having nothing in common with this , zionist, neocon hypocritical POTUS. I see there are a few of them here in the comments. Thank Dog!

    Guess what? You did not get elected to guarantee safety and success for your own personal " ISRAEL FIRST AT ALL COSTS" agenda. You want to lick Israeli boots you do it on your own time and with your own money and leave me and those like me out of it. Enough is enough. Wake the hell up or don't be expecting a second term.

    Joe you want respect act like by respecting the opinions of the millions who voted for you.

    Thanks CN

    • John Trott
      March 6, 2021 at 12:34

      When you refer to a second term are you referring to the Democratic Party as I think you should be? I do not see Grampy Joe being able to wipe his own butt in four more years.

  8. Em
    March 5, 2021 at 13:27

    What Biden, as previous administrations, have all shown is that anyone who submissively operates under our corporate tent “IS above the law” for we, the exceptional nation, without conscience, globally promulgate the law.
    America, systemically, has long been inflicted by this delusion of grandeur.
    Woe betide any and all those who dare to step out of this insane – genocidal to all life, trajectory.
    Transparency is the goal of what WikiLeaks and like factual investigative journalism is all about.
    Denuding the self-anointed is the aim, and as we all should see by now, with the example they are making of Julian Assange, they will go to any lengths to maintain their cover.
    “Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience espouses the need to prioritize one’s conscience over the dictates of laws.” (
    Like all the others before, Biden has no moral conscience. Principles, what principles! His actions speak much louder than his words.

  9. March 5, 2021 at 12:54

    The Squad, including Rep. Tlaib, should urge Bernie Sanders to vote with Republicans on lesser issues than Palestinian rights. He is in a perfect position to put serious pressure on the Biden administration to have serious respect for progressives (as distinct from regressives, like Biden, Blinken and Harris).

  10. JoeSixPack
    March 5, 2021 at 12:37

    Unfortunately this will not work out as people had hoped. In the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians signed over their rights to investigate crimes that Israeli soldiers may commit to Israel. The accords expired after 6 years but the Palestinian Authority has keep the accords going up to today. Thus, unless the Palestinian Authority renounces the Oslo Accords, the ICC will have to rule that they do not have jurisdiction due to the Oslo Accords.

    Professor Norman Finkelstein point this out in the video below.

    Finkelstein: Palestine’s ICC victory thwarted by Israel’s apartheid reality

      March 6, 2021 at 06:39

      This comment is completely untrue and it’s not what Finkelstein has written. The ICC has already ruled they have jurisdiction in this case, as Finkelstein writes in his first paragraph, because the Observer State of Palestine joined the ICC.

  11. Dfnslblty
    March 5, 2021 at 10:54

    And only one [maybe others] who has both heart and mind.

    The war crime actions are known – Palestine is signatory to ICC and thus freely allowed to be heard by the world community.

    potus46/harris have hereby become greater war criminals.

    Impeach potus46, condemn bibi and Stop Wars!

  12. Herbert Davis
    March 5, 2021 at 10:14

    As a private citizen who is not a fan of either country,I support the ICC and Rep. Talaib and applaud their courage in challenging the bully!

  13. Vera Gottlieb
    March 5, 2021 at 09:33

    In Palestine or wherever else they happen. No one person, no one country should be allowed to be above the law. None.

  14. PEG
    March 5, 2021 at 08:15

    Good that Rashida Tlaib is courageously speaking out on this issue – she has to, really, as she is a Palestinian-American – and the “Middle East expert” Juan Cole makes some valid points for a change. Wasn’t this the guy who said that the invasion of Afghanistan was “the right war at the right time” and was a huge supporter of the 2014 invasion of Libya, criticizing those not supporting this disastrous war?

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      March 5, 2021 at 15:05

      Yes. Prof Juan Cole has a very mixed history, to put it diplomatically. I am glad that he is criticizing Blinken. But he was also a supporter of US crimes against Syria.

  15. Jozef
    March 5, 2021 at 07:34

    One knew immediately when Blinken was nominated that these shenanigans (atrocities) would redouble. The rest of his cabinet is filled with pro israeli hawk ilk. We are in deep trouble. And so is the ME. More useless death and carnage at the hands of America and israel. Very sad. How long must this continue?

  16. Andrew Nichols
    March 5, 2021 at 03:01

    “Now he is running interference for Netanyahu. He is quickly becoming the face of American hypocrisy, which only wants sanctions on Russians and Iranians who are rivals but never on officials from countries that talk nice about the U.S.”


  17. peon d. rich
    March 4, 2021 at 22:54

    “Build Back Better”- who would have thunk that that would be as fascistic as “Make America Great Again.” I starting to see a pattern here.

    • Anne
      March 6, 2021 at 11:13

      And equally as hubristic and imperialistic, if in a slightly different way and, of course, expressed in a more varnished fashion.

  18. March 4, 2021 at 18:50

    You get what you give.
    I appreciate courage and hope for more of it.

Comments are closed.