The PA established a new committee to monitor lawsuits against Israel. Both Jerusalem and Washington have criticized this latest act of diplomatic warfare.
Carrying on with his diplomatic warfare against Israel, Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas ordered on Saturday the formation of a committee to oversee lawsuits against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, AFP reports.
The PA officially joined the ICC in January after failing to push through their bid for statehood at the UN Security Council.
The new committee, headed by Saeb Erakat, who served as chief negotiator at the failed US-brokered peace talks with Israel, includes various figures from the Palestinian political scene, universities and human rights organizations, according to Waffa, the official PA news agency.
Abbas said that the committee “will identify and prepare the documents and records that the state of Palestine will present to the ICC,” the agency reports.
On January 16, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, including during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Vigorous Israeli and US Opposition
Israel rejects the “absurd decision” of the ICC prosecutor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated. “It’s absurd for the ICC to ignore international law and agreements, under which the Palestinians don’t have a state and can only get one through direct negotiations with Israel. It’s absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which upholds the highest standards of international law. Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel’s world-renowned and utterly independent legal system.
“The ultimate folly of this decision,” he continued, is that “the democracy of Israel, a world leader in fighting terrorism, which is to be hauled to the dock in The Hague, while the terrorist war criminals of Hamas are the ones who are going to be pressing the charges. I won’t be surprised if ISIS, al-Qaida and Hezbollah follow suit.”
The US also voiced vigorous opposition to the Palestinian move. “As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that ‘Palestine’ is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC,” a State Department statement read. “It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC. The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions by either side. We will continue to oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive to the cause of peace.”
The US Congress has been considering ways to penalize the PA for this belligerent move, including the option to cut funding.
By World Israel News staff