Palestinians say open season on US firms if Israel indicted at Hague court

Mohammad Shtayyeh threatens legal action against American firms that supply the IDF.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh threatened that if the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicts Israel for war crimes, the Palestinians will then go after American corporations and organizations that support Israel, the MEMRI media watchdog organization reported Monday.

Shtayyeh said Palestinian officials met with the deputy secretary of state (apparently during the Trump administration) who said that the Palestinians getting membership in the ICC “will be like obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“The reason was that our membership in the ICC is not only against Israel,” Shtayyeh said. “If Israel is indicted, all the parties involved in the Israeli actions against the Palestinian people will also be indicted.”

“This means that we can also take the American companies and organizations that support Israel to court,” Shtayyah warned.

Although neither Israel nor the U.S. signed onto the Rome Statute – the court’s founding treaty which gives it jurisdiction over its members – the ICC appears to have granted itself an extension of its own powers to include the areas of Judea, Samaria, parts of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Last week, the U.S. stated emphatically that it supports Israel and rejects the decision of the ICC to open a criminal investigation into allegations of war crimes by the Palestinians.

“The United States firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed by this decision,” the State Department said.

The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”

The issue of jurisdiction may soon hit the U.S. closer to home if the court attempts to subpoena or sanction American businesses.

Shtayyeh made his remarks during an interview on the official Palestinian Authority (PA) television channel.

He said the Palestinian strategy at the ICC is to shatter the Israeli “monopoly on pain” and make the Palestinian suffering equivalent to that of the Jews under Nazi Germany.

“Israel was basically purporting that the Jews in the world are the only ones who were tormented by the Nazis and so on,” Shtayyeh said in Arabic in the interview, which was translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Our appeal to the to the ICC demonstrates and proves that the Palestinian people suffer… the Palestinians live in the diaspora,” using a term (since co-opted by others) that originally referred uniquely to the dispersal of Jews throughout the world.