(JNS.org) Equipped with possible eligibility to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) following its status upgrade at the United Nations last November, the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday said it would prosecute Israel in that court if the Jewish state proceeds with construction plans in the 4.6-square mile E1 area between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem.
“If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem, then yes, we would be going to the International Criminal Court,” PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said, according to Israel Hayom. “We would have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision. Israel knows our position very well.”
Israel needs the E1 area in order to maintain a connection between Jerusalem and the large Jewish commuter city of Ma’ale Adumim, which is east of the E1 zone. The Palestinians, meanwhile, say that the E1 area is essential for continuity of a future Palestinian state and their proposed capital in eastern Jerusalem. The Oslo Accords, signed by both Israel an the Palestinian Authority, do not prohibit Israel from building in E1, although they do prohibit the Palestinians from seeking redress for grievances outside of the framework of direct negotiations with Israel.
In order to prosecute Israel in the ICC—which deals with charges of genocide, war crimes and other human rights violations—the PA must first apply for membership in the court, and then refer Israel for investigation. Some commentators have wondered whether such acts will subject the PA itself to suits by Israel that the PA has violated human rights by targeting Israeli civilians.