Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) is continuing his campaign to force Israel to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) thereby increasing international pressure on the Israeli government. Asked about the prospect of his bill passing, Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post, “I expect a heavy objection from the coalition. But this could be a test of Israel’s declared commitment to international law.” Jabareen’s proposed legislation is timely, he said, as Palestinian officials have announced that they intend to turn to the ICC in the case of the injured Palestinian who was killed on March 24 by an Israeli soldier in Hebron.
The proposed legislation’s explanatory note reads: “Should the Israeli parliament sign this bill into law, it will symbolize the willingness of the State of Israel to share the values of global peace and rule of law with the international community. The International Criminal Court in the Hague was established in 2002 in order to establish punishment for serious crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. To date, Israel has not only refused to sign the statue but has not abided by its statutes in practice.”
MK Jabareen told the Jerusalem Post in December that the Joint List was planning a diplomatic offensive to increase pressure on the Israeli government to reverse the ban it imposed on the Northern Islamic Movement and other legislation and policies deemed to be targeting the political freedoms of Arabs. Jabareen and Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and former Hadash MK, spoke at the UN in Geneva last month.
In addition, Jabareen wrote an article published on Friday in the British newspaper The Guardian arguing that “Israeli democracy is today under attack. In the most recent assault on democratic rights, and in an attempt to undermine the Arab minority, the coalition in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, proposed legislation that would enable the suspension of elected representatives of the public – a move likely to disproportionately affect Arab MKs… In the rapidly shrinking democratic space in Israel, the Arab public needs to be assured that their will is reflected on the national stage.”