In its ongoing efforts to battle Israel in every forum, the Palestinian Authority is seeking to drag Israel to court over alleged war crimes. This move could backfire though as Israel can also file a complaint against the PA.
The Palestinian Authority will submit a complaint against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague on April 1, according to a senior PLO official. This is the day that the PA will accede to the ICC over the objections of the US and Israel. Although Israel is not party to the Rome Statute, the ICC can nonetheless try Israeli citizens for activities on any land that the ICC determines to be Palestinian territory.
“One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the (2014) Gaza war and settlement activity,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the PLO, told AFP.
The UN approved Palestinian accession to the PLO in mid-January over the strenuous objections of the US and Israel, who argued that it comes close to granting de facto statehood outside of the context of peace negotiations with Israel. “The United States does not believe that the state of Palestine qualifies as a sovereign state and does not recognize it as such and does not believe that it is eligible to accede to the Rome statute,” explained State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The ICC had already agreed on January 16 to open a preliminary investigation into Israel’s conduct during Operation Protective Edge. There was no mention made of any parallel investigation into the thousands of rockets shot indiscriminately into Israeli territory during the altercation, nor to discovery of dozens of tunnels built to allow terrorists to infiltrate into Israel and carry out mass killings and kidnappings. Israel responded to the ICC move by freezing the repatriation of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority.
“Israel rejects the absurd decision of the ICC prosecutor. 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,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel has not given an official response to the PLO statement, which Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon described as “speculative and hypothetical.”
By World Israel News Staff