Palestinian officials hint they will go to ICC over Israel’s latest settlement plan

on 20 Comments

Since Palestine’s UN upgrade two weeks ago, events and rhetoric appear to be on steroids, moving at a swift pace . Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at a press conference in Ankara with Turkish President Abdullah Gü Wednesday, said he would take legal action against Israel should it make efforts to colonize E1, a portion of land east of  Jerusalem. “His country is coordinating with Turkey to develop a legal strategy,” according to Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riad Malki also dangled threats of a strong response if Israel proceeded ahead with its latest colonization scheme and said Palestine’s next move would be to request membership at the International Criminal Court.

Jerusalem Post also says, PA to request ICC membership over Israeli settlements:

The Palestinian Authority Wednesday repeated threats to file charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court [ICC] over plans to build housing units in E1, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that the Palestinians’ next move would be to request membership in the ICC…….

The PA Ministry of Information in Ramallah also voiced support for filing charges against Israel with the ICC. The ministry accused Israel of “escalating its political and military offensive” against the Palestinians and called for action to prosecute Israeli “war criminals.”

Jerusalem Post, citing Turkish daily Today Zaman, reported Turkish President Abdullah Gül saying Israel’s threat to build is EI was “playing with fire.”

Today’s Zaman states, “Abbas reveals Turkey, Palestine to coordinate legal steps against Israel:”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said his country is coordinating with Turkey to develop a legal strategy for the newly recognized UN-observer state of Palestine to challenge Israel’s increased settlement activity in the Occupied Territories, especially against those that will cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.

“We have come to an agreement with the Turkish government on two points: One is to establish close coordination with Turkish permanent representation at the UN with our UN representation in New York and the other is to have Turkish Foreign Ministry experts provide legal counsel to our side,” he told a group of reporters in Ankara.

According to Today’s Zaman, Abbas has been discussing possible financial assistance with Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan– probably to prop up the PA since Israel’s cutting off their funds for the next four months, or so it threatens.

“We acquired many rights when we were recognized as a non-member state by the UN. But in fact we will not eagerly consult international courts if Israel agrees to and complies with a peace agreement,” Abbas maintained.


Abbas also said he discussed monetary assistance to Palestine with Erdoğan, whom he described as very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. “He knew all the details about Palestine and we have discussed ways to help Palestine in the face of punitive sanctions by Israel and the US,” he explained. He recalled that the Arab League has set up a monitoring committee headed by Qatar on what assistance would be provided to Palestine in case funds were cut off by Israel and the US in the wake of recognition at the UN Assembly.

He also underlined that his government puts a priority on reconciliation among Palestinian groups. “Khaled Meshaal called me half an hour before I arrived [in Turkey] and we discussed reconciliation steps,” he revealed during the meeting. He said Hamas is ready to pursue talks with the PA under Egyptian mediation after the group’s ongoing internal elections.

By the way, Turkey pulled out the red carpet for Abbas. Literally, brass horns and all. (video!). Israel must be fuming.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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20 Responses

  1. HarryLaw
    December 13, 2012, 2:38 pm

    The issue of illegal settlements should always be the first item on the agenda in any complaint to the ICC, this issue should be a slam dunk, since the World court has already given its opinion in 2004, which was, all settlements beyond the green line, including East Jerusalem, are in breach of article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions, this opinion was approved by all 15 Judges, including the American one. Abass say’s he will wait until colonization takes place in E1, why wait so long, that could be years away, these crimes have been ongoing for 45 years, I appeal to Abass to “get your finger out”.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 13, 2012, 3:00 pm

      Abass say’s he will wait until colonization takes place in E1, why wait so long

      specifically (first link) he said

      We won’t be patient if Israel goes ahead with its settlement plans in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which are mainly meant to separate the north and south of the West Bank,” he said.

      hopefully he means he’ll take action if they break ground in EI, from this day forward. either way, i like the sound of his country is coordinating with Turkey to develop a legal strategy for the newly recognized UN-observer state of Palestine to challenge Israel’s increased settlement activity in the Occupied Territories

      let’s look at it this way, it hasn’t been 2 weeks since the ink has dried and Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that the Palestinians’ next move would be to request membership in the ICC.

      for all we know that could be next week. i posit we very well may see some vital legal action beginning this winter.

      • American
        December 13, 2012, 6:25 pm

        Israel said this week that could be ‘2 years’ before they actually broke ground in E1′
        I tell ya this sounds like a ploy to me….threatening to build in EI and then while not doing that continuing to expand and build in other areas. This is a version of the same talky talky stall stall tactics to expand from already existing settlements
        Abbas would be a fool to wait on E1 to take Isrl to the ICC—the existing settlerments are ALREADY illegal……go on, get them on that.
        I guarentee every day Abbas waits Isr will call his bluff and build more and more.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 13, 2012, 7:01 pm

        it did occur to me it was an rtwg/settler kissup election gambit/punishment chest puffing bs.

      • Hostage
        December 14, 2012, 1:59 am

        for all we know that could be next week. i posit we very well may see some vital legal action beginning this winter.

        Abbas is under pressure to deliver on the Statehood bid, but the issue he signaled would be at the top of the list is the status of prisoners who have been illegally transferred out of the occupied territory. They are still being held in Israel. That was one of the specific legal issues mentioned in the recent UN upgrade resolution. The UK Supreme Court just affirmed a Court of Appeals decision which repudiated a Cabinet memo that had claimed renditions or transfer of individuals to Guantanamo are not a violation of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of POWs and Civilians, i.e. GCIV Art 49(6). So it appears the top UK Court just ruled that Obama is committing a war crime by holding protected persons in Gitmo.

        In other good news, Susan Rice has withdrawn herself from the running for Secretary of State. That leaves the field open for Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He’s famous for the Winter Soldier hearings and visiting the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris Peace talks during a visit there as a private citizen during the war. More recently he returned from a visit to Gaza with a letter from Hamas for Obama and gave Medea Benjamin a letter on Senate stationary supporting Code Pink’s Gaza Freedom March. I’m looking forward to the sort of things he might do if he gets his hands on some State Department parchment;-)

      • Hostage
        December 14, 2012, 4:10 am

        P.S. On the subject of even more good news: Some legal scholars have always argued that the Rome Statute only allows the Court to prosecute crimes that arise after the date that a non-member State accepts the Court’s jurisdiction under Article 12(3), not retroactively.

        Others have argued that an Article 12(3) declaration must list specific crimes and situations and that it cannot be used to investigate subsequent unrelated crimes.

        The Appeals Chamber just ruled that States may not file article 12(3) declarations which limited the Court’s jurisdiction to certain situations and crimes. A declaration has the effect of accepting the jurisdiction of the Court for all crimes listed in the Rome Statute if they are committed on the non-member State’s territory. In addition, a State may optionally accept the jurisdiction of the Court retroactively from the date of the Declaration for any act that was defined as a crime by the Statute when it entered into effect in July of 2002.

        So Palestine’s 2009 post-Cast Lead declaration, covering all crimes committed on its territory since July 2002, cannot be dismissed as invalid on the basis that it was retroactive in effect or filed after Cast Lead.

        So the Prosecutor doesn’t have to wait for Palestine to approach the Court, she still has a sealed complaint on hand and the necessary declaration.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2012, 7:49 am

        The “waiting” jumped out at me. But really honor Abbas for sticking to his commitment being unwilling to come to the table until all settlement growth etc STOPS.

    • amigo
      December 13, 2012, 3:33 pm

      Agree, as there are still Israeli leaders alive and well.

      Why allow these thugs get away scott free.

      Livni/Olmert/Peres/Barak/Ashkanazi/Mofaz/Disken, to name but a few.

      Of course I would throw in a few other names such as Mark Regev and that other lying toad “Lievobicth”

    • Talkback
      December 13, 2012, 4:04 pm

      The judge (Buergenthal) was not only American, but also Jewish like the British judge (Higgins, born Cohen).

    • Hostage
      December 14, 2012, 12:47 am

      this issue should be a slam dunk, since the World court has already given its opinion in 2004, which was, all settlements beyond the green line, including East Jerusalem, are in breach of article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions, this opinion was approved by all 15 Judges, including the American one.

      While that is certainly impressive, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions declared the practice to be a grave breach and a war crime in Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol. Then they reconvened the Diplomatic Conference of High Contracting Parties and declared that Israel’s settlements are illegal. The ICJ really wasn’t in any position to tell the lawmaking body that they were wrong about that situation:

      Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention

      Geneva, 5 December 2001

      12. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention. They reaffirm the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof. They recall the need to safeguard and guarantee the rights and access of all in-habitants to the Holy Places.

  2. amigo
    December 13, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Has a nice ring to it.

    “Israeli War Criminals”.

    Get used to it.

    One other thought.What will the punishment be for those using this term considering hitting a beloved IDF thug in the face is punishable by death.

    Am I really talking about Israel???.

  3. American
    December 13, 2012, 6:48 pm

    BTW….Susan Rice has withdrawn from the Sec of State nomination.
    I though it ridiculous (although I don’t like her) that the thugs went after her on the Libyian embassy attack…she after all repeated what the CIA had told her. So stupid, as UN Amb she had no authority over embassies, the State Dept controls that and the CIA controls intelligence…so the idots are flinging a fit over what she ‘said” instead of at those actually having the responsibility like Dept of State and CIA.
    Anyway, she’s out.
    The repubs says they like John Kerry for the position…how scary is that?…they say they like Kerry cause he “isn’t close” to Obama.

    • ritzl
      December 14, 2012, 12:07 am

      FWIW, Clinton was the first sitting pol to become SoS in the post-WWII era. Now Kerry as the second? That seems significant. Why pols as SoS all of the sudden? What does that mean in policy terms?

      WRT Clinton, malleable with an eye toward I-Lobby campaign contributions, methinks. Kerry, post-election, anyone’s guess.

      • American
        December 14, 2012, 1:05 am

        Kerry is a whussie……he’ll cave to anything.

      • ritzl
        December 14, 2012, 11:02 pm

        A necessary quality in the current govern according to influence construct.

  4. HarryLaw
    December 13, 2012, 7:52 pm

    Israelis and Palestinians to meet in Jordan in February, King Abdullah says Times of Israel Here, It would appear these talks are without an announced settlement freeze, would anyone expect anything else from Abass.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 13, 2012, 8:04 pm

      ha! harry, the king of jordan is just a bunch of window dressing. don’t you remember last year? from your link:

      Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev refused to comment on the report, and a Palestinian government spokesman was not available for comment.

      According to the London-based daily Al-Hayat, the king also sharply criticized Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, accusing him of marginalizing Jordan’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and harming the Hashemite Kingdom economically.

      The king is visiting the United Kingdom, where on Tuesday he met with Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. Al-Hayat reported that during a gathering at the home of former Jordanian deputy prime minister Raja’i Muashar on Monday, King Abdullah launched a direct attack on Morsi.

      According to the report, the king accused the Egyptian leadership of “marginalizing the Jordanian role in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to stop the latest aggression on the Gaza Strip.”

      since when has he played a role? since the fall of mubarak when he became the US/IS ‘arab proxy’ substitute, that’s when.

      scroll down to: Israeli-PA talks already have a winner – Jordan’s Abdullah.

      there’s a great video that describes the entire fiasco, don’t miss it..a must see.


      • W.Jones
        December 14, 2012, 11:21 am

        I am worried about the US-backed forces in Syria. They are fundamentalist, like the fundamentalist forces in Iraq and the fundamentalist “rebels” in Libya.

        Is the plan is to use one group of Sunni religious forces, like the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and the Libyans, to go after the Shiites: Iran, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon? It is ironic that the US backed the Taliban for so long and then they became enemy #1, who ironically have outlasted Sadaam and Qaddafi.

  5. Mondowise
    December 13, 2012, 11:21 pm

    this is absolutely pathetic!!!!!!! like there aren’t enough heinous izraeli crimes already to motivate abbas to join the ICC immediately????? he uses the sickening weak rhetoric of “IF” izrael carries out E1 construction??? “IF”???????????????? unbelievable!!!!!!!

    yo, abbass, you disgusting little wimp! listen up! in case you haven’t paid attention to the PEOPLES’ SUFFERING…Pals have been imprisoned, tortured, murdered, oppressed and ethinically cleansed for DECADES. it’s called GENOCIDE, you idiot!


  6. unverified__cf045633
    December 14, 2012, 9:39 am

    While legal means may or may not yield results, Palestinian travails are bound to culminate in the fascinating resolution that is brilliantly depicted (as though in fiction) in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine.”

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