Palestinian Affairs

Former ICC Prosecutor Warns Palestinians Against Joining Treaty

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a former prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), warned the Palestinian Authority that if it becomes a party to the ICC in order to pressure Israel, the decision could backfire. As reported in Ynet:

When he was the court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo turned down a request by the Palestinians to join the court. But as a nonmember state, they are now eligible, he said. If they accepted its jurisdiction, however, the Palestinians could also be investigated for Hamas rocket attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

“The obstacle they had in the past is gone, it is removed,” he told The Associated Press. “The best would be if Israelis and Palestinians create a common approach to prevent future activities.”

Abandoning bilateral negotiations in favor of using international institutions to pressure Israel is a strategy that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spelled out in a 2011 op-ed in the New York Times, when he wrote, “the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter … would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.” Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote that Abbas has been pursuing this strategy since 2005.

An unintended consequence of the PA’s seeking to join international treaties is that these conventions come with obligations. After the PA abandoned negotiations with Israel, it joined 15 international treaties and was already in violation of 11 of them.

Even as Abbas attempts to use international law against Israel, he and others complicit in terror are vulnerable to legal action by groups like Shurat HaDin—whose founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was profiled in the February 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine.

[Photo: Estonian Foreign Ministry / Flickr ]