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Alan Dershowitz: Palestinian Moves Undermine Peace Process

By    |   Friday, 02 January 2015 04:06 PM

A failed United Nations resolution calling for an independent Palestinian state and a bid by Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court both harm efforts to secure a lasting peace with Israel — and the court campaign, in particular, could backfire, lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Friday.

Palestinians seeking court membership in order to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel might find themselves under similar scrutiny, Newsmax contributor Dershowitz, author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas," told "MidPoint" guest host Ric Blackwell.

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The membership push "sets back the peace process because, again, it's part of Palestinian unilateral action," said Dershowitz.

"But in the end, it may be much worse for the Palestinians," he said, "because if they are part of the International Criminal Court — the United States is not, Israel is not — that means the Palestinian Authority can be investigated unilaterally by the International Criminal Court."

Dershowitz said that the militant group Hamas, having become part of the Palestinian governing authority, would be a legitimate target of ICC inquiries.

"Every time Hamas fires a rocket, it's a double war crime," he said. "They fire them at [Israeli] civilians from behind [Palestinian] civilians, using civilians as a shield. Hamas has murdered young children in their bed. Hamas has supported the murder of rabbis at prayer.

"What Israel's done is fought a reasonable, clean war, much like the United States and Great Britain and NATO tries to do," said Dershowitz. "So when any objective court judges Israel's conduct versus the conduct of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, it's clear how it should come out.

"Whether it will come out that way will be a great test of the International Criminal Court," he added.

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Dershowitz called the Palestinian statehood resolution that failed on Tuesday in the U.N. Security Council "absurd" and counterproductive because, like the ICC campaign, it represents an attempt to accomplish by decree what must be achieved through good-faith negotiations with Israel.

"What's happening now with these unilateral efforts to give recognition to the Palestinians, it means the Palestinians don't have to bargain or negotiate or compromise," said Dershowitz.

"It makes it much harder for the Palestinians to accept a compromise because the street is telling [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, 'Why give up anything? We're getting everything we need from France and from the British Parliament, from the Swedish Parliament, from the Spanish Parliament, and perhaps in the U.N. without having to give up anything,' " he said.

"So, it makes the two-state solution much more difficult to achieve," said Dershowitz.

He also said the U.N. "can play no role" in ending the stalemate because of a historical bias demonstrated by dozens of U.N. resolutions condemning Israel.

"The U.N. is part of the problem, not part of the solution," said Dershowitz, adding that the Palestinians keep rejecting Israeli proposals for separate states because "they think they will get a better deal unilaterally, through the Europeans, through the United Nations, without having to negotiate with Israel."

Dershowitz also reflected on the death of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, a liberal icon who died on Thursday at age 82 just hours after his son, current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term.

"Mario Cuomo was one of the greatest Americans in history," said Dershowitz. "He was a mensch, a decent man. He was an old-fashioned liberal who supported progressive values but was fair to both sides. He was a libertarian. He was tough on crime, but fair — he had been a public defender as a young man. He was just a great, great man.

"I always shed a tear when I think about what might have been if he had run for president or if he had allowed his name to be put forward for the United States Supreme Court," he said, calling Cuomo "a man of energy, determination, and fantastically good values."

"We will all miss him," said Dershowitz.

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A failed United Nations resolution calling for an independent Palestinian state and a bid by Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court harm efforts to secure a lasting peace with Israel, lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Friday.
Alan Dershowitz, Palestinians, Israel
Friday, 02 January 2015 04:06 PM
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