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Israel’s Domino

by Lydia Alaiadi

Over a month ago, Amal Clooney supported the ICC’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, which marked the first time that the ICC targeted a leader of a country that is an ally of the United States. Today Israel’s war cabinet falls apart, but does it mean that war is no longer imminent?

Amal Clooney is a famous British human rights lawyer who has successfully represented many people and countries. A few months ago, the ICC asked her to join a panel that would evaluate human rights violations in Israel and Gaza. “More than four months ago, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked me to assist him with evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza. I agreed and joined a panel of international legal experts to undertake this task. Together we have engaged in an extensive process of evidence review and legal analysis, including at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

Clooney, along with Lord Justice Fulford, Judge Theodor Meron CMG, Danny Friedman KC, Baroness Helena Kennedy LT KC, and Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG KC, supported the ICC’s decision to put out arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gantz Resigns

On June 9th, the leader of the National Unity, the second largest party in Israel, Benny Gantz, resigned from the government and the war cabinet. A week later, Netanyahu completely dissolved the war cabinet. Gantz accused Netanyahu of failing to set up a good strategy for the conflict and highlighted the government’s failed efforts to set up a plan not influenced by Netanyahu’s political ambitions. “I call on Netanyahu to set an agreed election date. Do not let our people be torn apart,” said Gantz. Is the Israeli government starting to lose control? and should we expect the domino effect to continue until chaos within Israel proves great enough to lessen the tensions in the war in Gaza?

ICC Warrants

By applying for the arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders in the same action, Khan’s office risks attracting criticism that it places a terror organisation and an elected government on an equivalent footing.” ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, who convened the panel for the arrest warrants, faced criticism for his decision to consider the Israeli government and Hamas on the same level. The US President Joe Biden said, “Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas.

Biden is also in a strategically difficult position as we approach the US elections this year. But what is more interesting is that Khan’s decision has created a domino effect that motivated supporters of ending the war to feel seen in their activism as a very influential body of the International Community appears to be on their side with a more active role than the UN could hope to achieve in a General Assembly.

It might also mean that the result of the US elections will be considerably based on this issue, especially from younger voters who have been protesting loudly over the last months. Khan’s panel also appears to have influenced government officials in Israel as Gantz resigned.

Two main scenarios could play out, and both of them can be considered very hopeful. Since there is no longer a war cabinet, a kitchen cabinet is active right now that makes quick decisions but is influenced exclusively by Netanyahu. His ambitions could prove catastrophic for himself and his government.

Ultra-Orthodox Tensions

The second scenario is that two hard-right and ultra-orthodox government members, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. They wanted to be part of the initial cabinet and might join in the next few weeks. Both are crucial for the government’s survival since they hold significant influence but do not see eye to eye with Netanyahu. They both threatened to resign if there was no attack in Rafah if the government would sign the US-led ceasefire agreement, and they support the illegal Israeli settlements in Gaza.

The two make Netanyahu look like the “moderate guy” while showing how the Israeli government has its own conflicts. However, if they both gain more power, the US might react negatively, weakening the alliance. Of course, the weaker the Israeli Government is, the better it is for the conclusion of the war. However, what is very crucial to remember is that in both scenarios, the possibility of a bigger catastrophe happening for the Palestinians is even more plausible.

We need, however, to consider that possibly we can finally see a scenario where the war ends, that is if the Israeli government fails its most important ally, the US. The domino seems to be heading this way since it is also in Biden’s interest to appear helpful in lessening the tensions for a chance in gaining more votes.