Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to apply to make an observation on the International Criminal Court’s flawed case against Israel.
“The determination by the ICC’s prosecutor that it has jurisdiction in the West Bank and Gaza politicises the court. This weakens its judicial legitimacy and raison d’etre, which is to pursue the world’s worst war criminals,” Mr. Leibler said.
Mr Leibler acknowledged Mr Morrison’s and Senator Payne’s ongoing principled support in this matter. “The Australian Government’s application to the court was the right thing to do. While it has long been a bipartisan consensus of Australian foreign policy to uphold the international rule of law, the government could have ignored this situation in the name of political expediency. The decision to apply to the ICC follows the letter Mr Morrison sent to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in December last year, which stated that Australia does not recognise that the Palestinian Authority is a state. For making these difficult decisions, Mr Morrison and Senator Payne should be congratulated.”
The ICC only has jurisdiction over the territory of its members. The ‘State of Palestine’ became a member of the ICC after the UN General Assembly recognised ‘Palestine’ as a non-member observer State. However, there are widely accepted conditions of statehood (under the Montevideo Convention) that the Palestinian Authority does not meet. The Prosecutor argues that she is guided by the UN General Assembly in determining whether Palestine is a state.
The Labor-led Australian Government abstained from the 2012 UN General Assembly vote that conferred on the Palestine Liberation Organisation ‘non-member observer state’ status. At the time, Australia’s ambassador to the UN stated categorically that, ‘The resolution does not confer statehood’. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in December last year, Prime Minister School Morrison reiterated that Australia does not recognise that Palestine is a state, and, consequently, that the so-called ‘State of Palestine’ is not a State Party to the ICC. Therefore, the 14 February Australian submission to the ICC is merely the continuation of long-standing bipartisan Australian policy.