‘If Hamas Lawfare is OK, ISIS Can Charge War Crimes Too’

In an op-ed in the International Business Times published Thursday, Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson of the Israeli embassy in London, made a powerful contrast between the world's reaction to Hamas's attempts to attack Israel as opposed to its treatment of Islamic State (ISIS).

The op-ed, entitled "Israel: If Hamas is allowed to wage warfare through international courts then Islamic State will be next," begins by pointing out ISIS's brutal atrocities and executions. It notes that the group employs a strategy of hiding its terrorists amid civilian populations, using human shields, and forcing all men in Raqqa, Syria, to grow beards so as to better disguise itself among them.

Coalition forces fighting ISIS, including UK forces, are faced with "horrendous dilemmas" while trying to attack ISIS terrorists and not harm the civilian populations they hide behind, said Curiel. ISIS meanwhile uses the conundrum it has created to charge the coalition of "waging war directly on the Iraqi people."

"The allegations are of course ridiculous, but imagine for a moment that someone took them seriously. Imagine that IS hired lawyers to produce a report accusing the UK and the coalition of war crimes. Imagine that IS then presented such a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC), with encouragement from the UN," wrote the spokesperson, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

"This scenario would make a mockery of international institutions, turning them into weapons against democracies trying to defend themselves from terror," continued Curiel. "In an absurd pincer movement, a terrorist group could attack a state physically with bombs, while at the same time work to undermine its ability to defend itself by legal action in an international tribunal."

And yet, the spokesperson brought his message home by recalling that "what seems like a ludicrous suggestion is actually happening with regard to Hamas and Israel."

"Surreally, we see Hamas representatives actively participating in and supporting legal proceedings in The Hague, calling for the prosecution of Israel for war crimes."

He pointed out that Hamas, despite being a recognized terror organization by the EU, US and UK, last week told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in a statement that it should have criticized Israel more in its recent report over last summer's war that Hamas launched.

Hamas "acts like a terror group in Gaza, murdering its opponents and amassing arms instead of building homes, yet goes to great pains (including a new English website and twitter feed) to present a respectable face abroad, as if it were an NGO concerned with human rights and a peaceful solution to Gaza's problems."

"Make no mistake, Hamas' interest in using the international bodies concerned with human rights and international law should set alarm bells ringing. Its motive for seeking to target Israel in these fora is clear: to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield during the next fight, while placing Israel's military and political leaders at the risk of legal action."

Curiel noted that the UNHRC last week passed a resolution targeting Israel, and warned that the resolution threatens all democracies confronted by terrorism.

"When the instruments of law and justice become weapons in the hands of terrorist groups, the security of the family of nations is at stake. If Israel is not protected from lawfare, then Britain and other Western democracies will fall victim to it soon after."

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/197916

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