Palestinians apply to International Criminal Court

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: World Economic Forum.

( Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the Palestinians will join the International Criminal Court (ICC), paving the way for the Palestinians to press charges against Israel in the global tribunal. 

The move comes just a day after the defeat of a United Nations Security Council resolution that called for the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by 2017. Abbas said that the Security Council let the Palestinian people down.

“There is aggression practiced against our land and our country, and the Security Council has let us down—where shall we go?” he said.

“As long as there is no peace, and the world doesn’t prioritize peace in this region, this region will live in constant conflict,” added Abbas. “The Palestinian cause is the key issue to be settled.”

Abbas has long promised to join the ICC as a way to put pressure on Israel, opening up the possibility that Israel could be tried for war crimes. But by joining the ICC, the Palestinians also open themselves up to war crimes probes as well as possible repercussions such as sanctions by the U.S., which opposes Palestinian unilateralism. 

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation For Defense of Democracies, told that he believes the latest developments for the Palestinians may signal the growing desperation of Abbas.

“My sense is that Palestinian unilateralism is losing its luster at the United Nations, but also on the Palestinian street,” Schanzer said.

“When the [Palestinian diplomatic campaign] began, it was novel and there was a sense that it could truly change the dynamics,” he said. “But it increasingly looks like Abbas falls back on this strategy when all else fails, but without achieving real results. It also looks like he is deliberately choosing to turn away from diplomacy in favor of this fruitless approach. The end result is the international community and the Palestinian street are growing weary of these diplomatic theatrics.”

Posted on December 31, 2014 .