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ICC rejects Morrison Gov't plea for Israeli exemption from war crimes prosecution

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Israel can do no wrong in the eyes of Scott Morrison

When it comes to the Morrison Government and war crimes, there's one rule for Israel and another for everyone else, it seems. Peter Wicks reports.

I WANT YOU to imagine a scenario; it’s a fictitious one, but a relevant one.

I want you to imagine that the Chinese Government has been investigated by the International Criminal Court and found to have committed horrendous war crimes, which include the illegal murder of women and children, and multiple acts of torture. Seriously heinous international crimes that need to be prosecuted.

Then I want you to imagine that a few years ago after the investigation was completed, and the war criminals were to be brought before the International Criminal Court and prosecuted, that then-Senator Sam Dastyari had made an official submission to the International Criminal Court that human rights violators from China should be exempt from any prosecution on the basis of a jurisdictional claim that is not recognised by the overwhelming majority of nations, just a couple of China’s close allies.

Imagine the outcry. Imagine the headlines: "Shanghai Sam supports torture" — and worse.

Imagine the media specials on Chinese influence, and how the slippery slope of political donations and favours have reached the bottom of the barrel, to the extent where war crimes and torture are now supported.

While all of that may be fictitious, if we were to change the name of the politician and the nationality of those that allegedly committed the crimes, it is suddenly no longer fiction.

In March, I reported on an intervention by the Morrison Government to the International Criminal Court that alleged Israeli war criminals not be prosecuted by the ICC, despite having received a thorough five-year investigation. The alleged crimes being investigated were related to murders, including women and children, and also included allegations of torture.

It was confirmed in Senate Estimates, by James Larsen, chief legal officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, that Israel had sought the support of Australia to intervene and attempt to ensure allegations of illegal killings and torture of civilians was swept under the carpet. Australia was all too happy to do Israel’s bidding for them. What’s a little torture between friends eh?

On the 30th April, the International Criminal Court prosecutor rejected Australia’s submission, announcing they will continue to seek prosecution for both Israeli and Palestinian crimes related to the conflict.

So where was the outrage for the Morrison Government’s support of torture and war crimes? Anyone?

 

When it comes to Israel, it seems nobody wants to risk being accused of anti-Semitism, so we’re content to see it all brushed aside.

 

In March, my report was published by Independent Australia. I did not see any coverage from the mainstream media on the issue; if there was any it certainly wasn’t prominent. When our Government seeks to cover up torture and war crimes, it doesn’t rate much of a mention in our media apparently.

 

When there is a question about China’s human rights record, it is massive news. The outcry is heard in Beijing.

 

However, when it’s Israel, all we hear are crickets.

Maybe it’s because we have so many MPs in our Parliament entitled to Israeli citizenship?

Israel's Law of Return (1950) was amended in 1970, so that all non-Israeli Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism are entitled to settle in Israel and receive full Israeli citizenship.

It seems the debate surrounding Section 44 of the Constitution still has some unresolved matters. I’m no constitutional lawyer, but I thought s44(i) made it pretty clear when it comes to someone who has an automatic right to foreign citizenship.

s44(i) states:

Any person who:

     (i)  is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a       citizen of a foreign power ...

          ... shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

The head of the Israeli lobby in Australia, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Councils Colin Rubenstein, claimed that Australia’s intervention showed “strong moral leadership”. This is a highly disturbing view, which suggests it is immoral to seek justice for the use of torture, military attacks on hospitals, as well as the massacre of women and children.

Thankfully, Labor’s Senator Penny Wong and Libby Coker MP showed some true moral courage and spoke out in Parliament against this new low point in Australian politics. It is comforting to know some of our representatives have a different view of morals to the likes of Rubenstein and his lobby group.

I look forward to seeing justice served in the International Crime Court.

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