Martin Jay: could international law & graft charges topple Bibi?

ICC Netanyahu Israel

Recent gestures by the international criminal court in the Hague, often called simply the ICC, are that it might begin war crime proceedings against Israel for the daily genocide it carries out each day, with the blessing of the West. So far they are just statements but it is interesting that global public opinion, not from elites but from the masses right around the world, is putting pressure on the international court to step up to the mark. It’s interesting on a number of levels. Chiefly though, given that the court is a creation of America and a very effective tool to use against regimes in the global south which it doesn’t like, sceptics can only speculate as to the rationale behind the move. A fair bet might be that a number of EU member states have lent on the Hague court to at least become vocal; another possibility is that Palestine itself has urged the court to uphold international law; and a third option is that Biden himself is using the court as a tool to impale Netanyahu. Getting rid of Netanyahu and toppling his increasingly fragile coalition, forcing new elections in a country that no one calls “the only democracy in the middle east” anymore is an attractive strategy for Biden who doesn’t want to go to the polls next year with no support whatsoever from American jews who don’t support Netanyahu and, for that matter, losing the American Muslim vote.

Putting aside the comical if not predictable response from Netanyahu who hits back with accusations of “antisemitism” whenever the ICC subject comes up, many might argue the move by the ICC is a combination of all three scenarios. But it is hard to imagine the court doing anything without the blessing of the Biden administration and Netanyahu must be feeling increasingly isolated – almost entirely at home where polls show he has no support at all from his base – and more and more from the rest of the world. What we have seen in recent days is the limitation of the this “Israel has the right to defend itself” mantra from Western countries’ elites who are growing increasingly uncomfortable with huge demonstrations in support of Palestine, with an increase in genuine antisemitism noticeable but not in such great numbers as US media is spinning.

Nothing is quite what is seems and dark forces are at work when we talk about Netanyahu’s future. He was never a friend of Biden, although he was the first world leader to welcome the US president to office, which shocked many Trump supporters, who, after all gave him and Israel so much during his one tumultuous term.

Were these same dark forces in play when it emerged that corruption charges against Netanyahu – thought to be put on hold during the war in Gaza – are, in fact, to proceed. Those charges in themselves might be the straw which broke the camel’s back and lead to the downfall of both him as PM and also his coalition. Did Biden have a hand in this move also?

Conspiracy theories, perhaps. But the odds are stacking up against Bibi and for him to play the antisemitism card against the ICC would appear to show a new level of desperation in reaching out to international jews (as Zionists wouldn’t buy into this BS anyway). Is the world going to stand by and watch the numbers of civilian deaths in Gaza reach 30 or even 40,000 and do nothing? It was initially believed that Arab leaders wouldn’t stand by and let this happen but the initial chest beating didn’t amount to much. Leading commentators are pointing out that that all Saudi Arabia’s mercurial leader MbS has to offer his young supporters who decry the fate of Palestinians in Gaza is international pop stars jetting in to the capital to take their minds off the slaughter. Sami Hamdi’s tweet is both hilarious and tragic.

Ordinary Saudi: Your highness. I am distraught over #Gaza. Please do something! Bin Salman: I am arranging for the Only Fans model Iggy Azalea to come to Riyadh soon and take your mind off it. We also have an offer at McDonald’s, buy one and get one free on us. Go. Have fun.

Next door in the UAE it’s a different story as, like Morocco, these two countries have invested too much in Israel for them to back out. For the Abu Dahbi royals, they’re with Israel no matter what and were the first Arab country to send military hardware to the IDF in preference to aid. For the UAE, simply, the points they score with Washington and the white washing of human rights abuses is worth the Palestinian lives. For Morocco it’s more complicated. The King has invested too much money in the relationship – even developing a satellite with Israel – for him to call off all deals. There’s literally too much money in it although a new Arab Spring in the kingdom might be the price he pays as the number of Moroccans boiling with anger over Israel’s daily slaughter has reached fever pitch in a country which most GCC elites don’t even consider part of the Arab world given its modernity and proximity to Europe. Bibi may well end up living in exile in one of these two countries when the brown stuff really hits the fan and the West says enough is enough. His only hope to cling on is a bigger and longer war which disables the judiciary system and mobilizes the IDF against Iran and Hezbollah. It certainly won’t be the first time an Israeli leader has used Hezbollah as a way of buying time to stay in power.

 

The author is an award winning journalist based in Morocco, working for a number of international titles while also the editor in chief of both Levantis.me and Maghrebi.org. He can be followed on twitter at @MartinRJay This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.

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