PM: No chance for peace deal if Israel sued for war crimes

‘Dire consequences’ if Abbas goes to the ICC, warns Netanyahu, day after Palestinians’ UN envoy threatened they may do so

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, September 15, 2010 (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, September 15, 2010 (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

A Palestinian push to try Israeli officials for war crimes at a United Nations tribunal would end any chance of reaching a peace deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu spoke to Army Radio on Friday, a day after the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the United Nations said his government would join the International Criminal Court if the UN Security Council refuses to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all Palestinian territories.

“We may end up there,” Netanyahu said of the prospect of war crimes charges being brought against Israel at the Hague-based UN tribunal.

“If Abu Mazen attempts it, this will have dire consequences,” he added, using another name for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “He could bring The Hague to do it, bringing us to the destruction of any chance of a sane peace deal.”

Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour addressing journalists after a UN Security Council meeting, May 2014. (photo credit: UN/Devra Berkowitz)
Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour addressing journalists after a UN Security Council meeting, May 2014. (photo credit: UN/Devra Berkowitz)

On Thursday, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s UN envoy, said that his government has turned to the Security Council “to force Israel to negotiate in good faith the end of the occupation within a time frame.”

The Palestinian Authority hopes the council will adopt a draft resolution setting November 2016 as the deadline for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

“But if this additional door of peace is closed before us, then we will not only join the ICC to seek accountability,” Mansour said. “We will join other treaties and agencies” to build evidence “that we exist as a nation, we exist as a state, although the land of our state is under occupation.”

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