Palestinians freeze petition at International Criminal Court against US

The suspension is apparently intended to facilitate President Joe Biden’s efforts to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority suspended its petition in the International Criminal Court against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

The PA petition, filed in 2018 after former President Donald Trump formally recognized the city’s capital status, argued that the recognition violated international law and was therefore a war crime.

According to Israel Hayom, “the ICC initially intended to review the Palestinian petition in June 2021, but two months earlier the PA submitted a request to suspend the proceedings. The ICC said in a report that the PA’s request was coordinated with the Biden administration.”

Israeli officials believe the freeze is intended to facilitate President Joe Biden’s efforts to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. Rebooting U.S-Palestinian relations is a key White House foreign policy goal.

The report quoted an Israeli official describing the PA’s freeze “a technical procedure that can be reversed at any moment.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid say there is “no room” in Jerusalem for a consulate serving the Palestinians.

Consular services for Israelis and Palestinians were shifted to the embassy. U.S. ties with the PA were effectively downgraded as the consulate’s Palestinian Affairs Unit was folded into the embassy.

Critics say that opening a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem infringes on Israeli sovereignty, re-divides Jerusalem and rewards Palestinian intransigence.

In a further complication, the consulate building is located in downtown Jerusalem in the western half of the city.

U.S Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon conceded to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in October that the U.S. would need Israel’s consent and diplomatic accreditation to reopen the building as a consulate.