Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to convene a meeting Thursday to discuss Israel’s response to the Palestinians’ bid to join the International Criminal Court.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu promised to “adopt steps in response and […] protect the soldiers of the IDF — the most moral army in the world.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request Wednesday to join the ICC, a move that would establish a new avenue for action against Israel after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution aimed at establishing a timetable for a full Israeli pullout from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In a live broadcast from the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas signed 20 international treaties, including the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding document.
The United States slammed the Palestinian maneuver, calling it “counter-productive,” pushing “further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.”
“It will badly damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace,” US State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said in a statement.
The Palestinians hope ICC membership will pave the way for war crimes prosecutions against Israeli officials. Abbas did not specify Wednesday when he planned to file complaints against Israel, or the specifics of such intended complaints, which it may be feasible to file within the next few weeks.
Israel, however, maintains it is Palestinian crimes that would be exposed to the judgment of the Hague-based court.
Netanyahu said that it was the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, that had to worry about the ICC’s judgments because of its partners, Hamas, from whose Gaza territory over 4,500 rockets and other projectiles were fired at Israel during a 50-day war this summer. Abbas’s Fatah and the Islamist terror group Hamas are the joint backers of the current Palestinian “unity” government.