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Hamas Raped and Massacred Israeli Women; Is There a Way to Hold Them Legally Accountable?

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

As a former Special Victims Prosecutor, the plight of victims of sexual violence is one that I am both familiar with and sensitive to. The trauma suffered by these victims is some of the worst that a human being can endure.

The phrase “believe women” became a rallying cry during the #MeToo movement, and on the left. So the deafening silence from those quarters about the sexually violent crimes committed by Hamas on October 7, 2023, has been particularly disappointing.

The Geneva Convention specifies that “women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor, in particular against rape or any form of indecent assault.”

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that “rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, or any other form of sexual violence” is a crime against humanity.

Yet, ironically, November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, when UN Women launches an annual UN-wide campaign — and there is not a whisper of condemnation emanating from the hallowed halls of the UN about the hideous sexual violence committed by Hamas against Israeli women. This, despite mounting evidence that rape was systematically used against Israeli women as a tool of terror on October 7.

A glossary of translated phrases from Arabic to Hebrew was recovered from Hamas terrorists that included instructions such as “Take your pants off.” There is a disturbing video from October 7 of a young Israeli girl being dragged by her hair with her hands bound behind her back in Gaza. Her crotch area is visibly stained with blood. A harrowing account was just released by Israeli police of a witness who watched as Hamas terrorists gang raped a woman before shooting her in the head. There are numerous accounts of Israeli girls and women being found murdered, with their pants and undergarments completely removed.

In implementing rape as a tool for terror, Hamas committed war crimes.

What recourse exists to prosecute Hamas for these crimes? I spoke with George P. Fletcher, the Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School and preeminent expert in international criminal law about this prospect.

“There is little doubt that Hamas has committed innumerable war crimes,” Professor Fletcher said. “Rape is considered a crime against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it violates the Geneva Conventions. It is related to genocide because it changes the population by producing offspring.”

Aside from the rape abuses, Hamas’ “charter would be Exhibit A in a prosecution for genocide” Professor Fletcher said, referencing Article 7 of Hamas’ 1988 charter, which calls for the killing of Jews.

Given its anti-Israel bias, and that the ICC has tried to haul Israelis into court under trumped up charges, going to the ICC for justice seems like a horrible mistake. Israel says it will try Hamas war criminals; but what can be done elsewhere?

Professor Fletcher offered a creative and promising alternative to the ICC: the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). While it doesn’t have the geopolitical gravitas of the ICC, “the ATCA allows foreign nationals the ability to sue in US Federal courts for violations of international law, particularly human rights violations,” Fletcher said. I pressed Professor Fletcher on the risks involved in a potential counter-suit for Israeli violations of international law. He responded that, “The concern about a counter-suit is litigious harassment, not the merits. Let them bring their case. A full hearing of the evidence is good for Israel.”

There are a number of logistical issues such a case raises. For example, how would Hamas be served with the complaint? If a judgment for violation of international law were reached, what kind of penalties could be levied and how would it be enforced? If Hamas has assets in the US, then they could be frozen as a result of a judgment against it. But it is unclear whether Hamas has any such assets or US bank accounts.

Professor Fletcher suggested that victims of Hamas’ war crimes sue Iran as well, since there is ample evidence that “Hamas are agents of Iran.” Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and pairing Hamas and Iran as co-defendants would highlight this fact. Moreover, it would be easier to enforce a judgment against Iran than it would an amorphous terrorist group in Hamas.

Given the inordinate frequency with which it condemns Israel, the United Nations may not be a hospitable environment for Israeli victims of Hamas war crimes to get justice. US Federal courts might provide a better forum for them to do so. In whichever way the victims of October 7 seek justice, it is clear that they will need to be creative in their approach.

Kenneth Blake is a former Special Victims Prosecutor at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY. He is a Government and Critical Thinking teacher at St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma, CA. 

The post Hamas Raped and Massacred Israeli Women; Is There a Way to Hold Them Legally Accountable? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Gallant: Seizing Internal Hamas Documents Brings Hostage Deal Closer

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meeting with IDF commanders, including members of the elite Shayetet 13 marine commando unit, in Atlit, Israel, Jan. 17, 2023. Photo: Ariel Hermoni (Israel’s Ministry of Defense)

i24 NewsIsraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant provided a review to fellow ministers of weapons and documents belonging to Hamas, which were collected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Document and Technical Means Collection Unit (Amshat) operating in the Gaza Strip.

“This morning we are hosting the government meeting at the IDF, in the defense establishment, to show the ministers exactly how we are achieving and deepening our achievements and what is coming out of the Gaza Strip,” Gallant explained.

“You can see a small part of the things here – missiles, explosive charges, mines, a great many maps, means of communication, documents, computers, drives, all these things which the IDF uses now on as intelligence, and not only that,” the defense minister continued.

“These demonstrate that we penetrated into the heart of the most sensitive places of Hamas and use their intelligence against them,” Gallant described the process of attaining the documents and weapons, hinting at some of the locations from where it was found.

“We are using their weapons against them, detonating them in the field, all this leads to the consequence of deepening and penetrating the heart of Hamas’ capabilities,” the defense minister said.

“The more we deepen our operations, the closer we get to a realistic deal in order to return the hostages,” Gallant concluded.

The post Gallant: Seizing Internal Hamas Documents Brings Hostage Deal Closer first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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UNRWA Chief Urged to Resign After ‘Absurd’ Pledge of Ignorance

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsIsraeli diplomatic leaders called for the resignation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, following denial of knowing about a Hamas data center under the agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealed on Saturday night that Hamas built a vast network of tunnels under the UNRWA headquarters, with a base directly underneath that was even hooked up to its grid.

“The exposure of UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters’ deep involvement with Hamas, including its use for terror activities and as an access point to terror tunnels, requires immediate action,” the Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, posted on X.

“Philippe Lazzarini’s claim of unawareness is not only absurd but also an affront to common sense. His prompt resignation is imperative,” Katz concluded.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, also called for the UNRWA Commissioner-General to resign, responding “it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know.”

“We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did you refuse, you chose to stick your head in the sand,” Erdan added in a detailed post on X.

.@UNLazzarini it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know. We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did… https://t.co/bJsD66OwoO

— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) February 10, 2024

“Take responsibility and resign today!” the Israeli ambassador said, “Every day we find more proof that in Gaza the UN=Hamas and vice versa. Anything the UN says or claims about Gaza cannot be trusted.”

The post UNRWA Chief Urged to Resign After ‘Absurd’ Pledge of Ignorance first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Preparing for the Next ICJ Debacle

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgIn the theater of the absurd commonly known as the International Court of Justice, judges are again preparing to ignore history and facts. Having weaponized the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Jewish state, the judges are now preparing to hear oral arguments on the next oxymoron: The “legal consequences” of the “Israeli occupation” of “Palestinian territory.”

The glaring problem with this is that there is no such entity as the “Palestinian territories.” The term is an invented one used to define areas allocated by the international community to the Jewish state, which were then illegally invaded by Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Any discussion anchored on this false terminology should immediately be ignored and scorned.

In December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly, prompted by the Palestinian Authority, adopted a resolution to request from the ICJ an advisory opinion on the following question:

“Considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council, and the advisory opinion of the Court of July 9, 2004:

“a) What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character, and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?

“b) How do the policies and practices of Israel referred to in paragraph 18 (a) above affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”

Following the request, the ICJ set a July 25, 2023 deadline for initial written statements to be submitted, with responses to be submitted by Oct. 25, 2023 and oral arguments to be made starting Feb. 19, 2024.

The underlying assumption of this debacle is that Israel is in some way “occupying” “Palestinian territory.” But is that really the case?

In reality, never in history has an independent country called “Palestine” ever existed.

In reality, the area the UNGA claims and has asked the ICJ to consider as “Palestinian territory” was controlled for 400 years by the Ottoman Empire.

In reality, after World War I, the international community repeatedly allocated the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Lebanon to the Red Sea, for the sole purpose of reconstituting the Jewish homeland.

In reality, the 1923 division of the geographical area called “Palestine” into two separate areas, one to be called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the other remaining Jewish Palestine, was the real “two-state solution.”

In reality, in 1947, the United Nations offered the Arabs an opportunity to create another Arab country to the west of the Jordan River alongside Israel, but the Arabs refused. Instead, five Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state with the stated and express goal of throwing the Jews into the sea.

From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria, which it renamed “The West Bank.” During that time, no U.N. resolution of the General Assembly or the Security Council demanded that Egypt and Jordan retreat and desist from occupying those areas. No such request was made of Jordan since Jordan saw Palestine as an integral part of Jordan.

In reality, even U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, from November 1967, does not mention, even once, the notion of occupied “Palestinian” territory.

In fact, the idea that a State of Palestine ever existed and that Israel is occupying “Palestinian territory” seems to prove the billboard advertisement that “Palestine” is the only country in the world that did not exist before it was “occupied.”

Sadly, as the judges demonstrated with their shameful decision on the false claim of South Africa against Israel when it comes to the Jewish state, history, facts and the truth are just not relevant.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The post Preparing for the Next ICJ Debacle first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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