PA could join ICC Wednesday, Palestinians say
Leadership set to decide on new moves after failed UN bid; Israeli politicians widely denounce attempt
Senior members of the Palestinian leadership were set to convene Wednesday evening in Ramallah to discuss applying for membership in international organizations after a resolution on Palestinian statehood failed to pass a UN Security Council vote the night before.
A senior Palestinian source confirmed to The Times of Israel that Fatah’s Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the PLO will decide whether to sign the Rome Statute, among other international bodies, in their ongoing bid to become full members in International Criminal Court.
The Palestinians are leaning toward joining the international organizations and agreements, but the final decision will be made Wednesday evening, said the source.
Later Wednesday, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat confirmed that the Palestinian leadership would meet to decide on a timeline for joining the ICC, Channel 10 reported.
According to Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could sign the Rome Statute as early as tonight.
The ratification of the Rome Statute — the treaty established by the ICC — would make the Palestinian Authority eligible to present cases of alleged war crimes against Israel in international courts.
Earlier in December, Palestine was upgraded to “observer status” at the ICC, after the 122 member nations voted unanimously to approve the move.
Tuesday’s defeated Palestine statehood bid — 8 votes for, 2 against and 5 abstentions — was brought to the Security Council just two days before new incoming members would have likely given wider support for the resolution.
The final draft of the resolution, submitted by Jordan, called for a two-state solution with Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 lines by 2017.
‘Political offensive against Israel’
Israeli politicians denounced Tuesday’s statehood bid, calling Abbas’s move a unilateral attempt to coerce Israel into a diplomatic corner.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called the bid proof that the Palestinian Authority was not interested in direct negotiations with Israel, and was only interested in provocation and continuing delegitimization of Israel.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the failure of the vote “does not mitigate the Palestinian Authority’s hostile and one-sided political offensive against Israel,” according to a report in the NRG news site Tuesday.
Steinitz said that Abbas’s intention to join the ICC must be met with countermeasures and deterrents, including freezing assets and dismantling the Palestinian Authority.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement the failed statehood bid should teach Palestinians that provocation and unilateral attempts to coerce Israel into diplomatic processes will not yield results.
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