“Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.” (Psalm 21:11)
The Palestinian ambassador to the submitted a request this Friday to join 22 international treaties including the International Criminal Court, despite a failed bid for Palestinian statehood in the UN Security two days prior.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been eligible to apply to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the Hague since November 2012, when the UN General Assembly agreed to categorize it as a “nonmember observer state.” (Haaretz)
The PA also announced this weekend that it plans to submit a request to join Interpol ahead of the global law enforcement agency’s annual meeting sometime this year.
If the PA’s bid to join the ICC is successful, the court would acquire authority over Palestinian territory in 90 days, on April 1.
The membership would allow the PA to submit formal complaints against Israel and others for alleged war crimes—though Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren writes that they have put forward informal complaints for years.
Ahren adds that, contrary to popular belief, the PA would not be able to sue Israel at the court, because only prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has the authority to issue indictments.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the Palestinians would be brought to trial for Hamas’ terrorist activity and haphazard rocket fire into Israel from amid civilian areas in Gaza once it joins the ICC. (Times of Israel)
“The Palestinian Authority is not a state. … It’s an entity which exists in an alliance with a terrorist organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes, and the state of Israel is a country of law with a moral military which observes international law,” Netanyahu said after a meeting Thursday, organized to discuss Israel’s response.
States diplomats have also warned that the move would lead to congressional sanctions, states The New York Times.
The White House – not an ICC member itself – decried the move as “counterproductive,” while Israel responded by putting a halt on tax-revenue transfers to the PA, which amounted to $127 million in the month of December, writes Huffington Post.
However, Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters in New York this past week, “We are not afraid of the judgment of the international law.” (Haaretz)
While the ICC has a poor success ratio, losing its highest profile case to date on December 5 against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta upon a withdrawal of charges, the Palestinian party already has sought to blast Israel for alleged war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war, issuing a written complaint to the court this week. (US News)
Netanyahu issued a request to the ICC to reject the PA’s bid, while promising to “protect the soldiers of the IDF—the most moral army in the world.” (Times of Israel)
The P.A.’s failed statehood bid earlier in the week was attributed to a hefty diplomatic effort by the States along with a final pivotal change in Nigeria, which moved from Palestinian support to abstention after an alleged phone call from Netanyahu to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We discovered that the Nigerians did not submit and did not break down and voted according to their conscience,” said a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official to Ynet News. “There was a clear message from the international community to the Palestinians: Do not try to use a forceful trick in the U.N. to replace results of negotiations with Israel.”
During the U.N. Security vote, the States and Australia opposed the Palestinian bid, while Britain, Nigeria, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania abstained. The eight votes in support of unilateral Palestinian statehood were Russia, China, France, Luxembourg, Jordan, Argentina, Chile and Chad.
“The failure of the proposal must teach the Palestinians that the provocations and attempts to force Israel into unilateral moves will not lead them to any gains—only the opposite,” said Foreign Minister Lieberman after the vote, citing “Palestinian disregard of the most important countries in the international community.”
“Any country that wants to promote an agreement must act responsibly and make clear to the Palestinians that decisions are only made around the negotiating table,” Lieberman added.
Nevertheless, on Sunday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was discussing with Jordan plans to resubmit a resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state to the United Nations Security Council.
“Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love His name will dwell there.” (Psalm 69:34-36)