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A message of unity: Barak – Israel’s choice

Barak. Wikipedia, kobi kalmaonovic

This Thursday, the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, Holland, will begin a hearing on Israel’s war in Gaza. This is happening after a South Africa, which has been taking on a growing pro-Palestinian line in recent years, has filed a lawsuit against Israel and is now accusing Israel of Genocidal war crimes. The court takes years to discuss the cases, but the fear is that the court may issue an interim order to stop the war; the court does not have the ability to enforce this interim order, but failure to comply with it may cost very dearly on Israel’s international standing and drag resolutions against it at the UN, and even sanctions.

15 judges will be seated at the hearing, when the court allows one judge to be on the side of the Acused, and one on the behalf of the defendant. South Africa elected its vice president of the Supreme Court; while Israel, after several days of deliberations, chose none other than former Chief Justice Aharon Barak, now 87. This decision is somewhat surprising when we remember of the political events of the past year, and the difficult mutual dialog between supporters of legal reform and former President Barak, who carried out the “legal revolution” and promoted activism during his tenure. However, the decision to choose Barak was made no other than Prime Minister Netanyahu, and this reflects the unity of the lines that landed on Israel with the war. “In real time, the uniter is stronger than the separator, and we will all stand together and say ‘Hineni’ when we are called for the flag for our country, as one man with one heart,” said Interior Minister Arbel.

The choice of Barak stems from two factors: First, Barak is a world-renowned jurist, and probably the Israeli jurist who has reached the most prominet places in the international arena; and second, Barak himself is a Holocaust survivor, meaning, he has experienced genocide – so other judges will feel a natural aversion in blaming his country, to his face, of genocide. In any case, the lawyer who is representing Israel in the hearings is Malcolm Shaw, a British professor of international law, one of the most experienced lawyers in dealing with the International Court of Justice, and a longtime supporter of Israel. The legal debate will begin soon, and the people of Israel have no choice but to keep their fingers crossed for the Shaw and Barak.

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