PA Mantra: No Bilateral Ties With Israel
Palestinian Authority officials kept up their mantra of abrogating all bilateral accords with Israel on Thursday saying it would seek territorial redress in international courts.
“We are studying currently total termination of all kind of dealings with the Israeli courts which basically belong to the occupier and never delivered the Palestinians with fair verdicts,” Palestinian Legislative Council member Walid Assaf told Gulf News.
Assaf said his committee, which is responsible for litigating territorial disputes with Israel in Judea and Samaria, was conducting a final review of using international courts to challenge Israel's security fence in Judea and Samaria.
"All Palestinian complaints related to Israeli colonies and the segregation barrier should be reviewed by fair and unbiased international courts, not Israeli," he stressed.
"We should face the colonists' aggression and attacks by quick political movement and use of the international courts, after the Israeli courts proved to be useless and had never brought a single issue to an end," he said.
"This trend will gain momentum with the Palestinian factions in Cairo agreeing to renew the activities of the Palestinian Legislative Council," he said.
Assaf himself undermined his claim that Israel's courts never delivered fair verdicts when he boasted of winning cases against the Israeli Light Train in Jerusalem and an Israeli company that manufactures barbed wire.
Israel's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of PA Arabs and ordered the route of Israel's security fence altered in their favor numerous times. In other cases it has ordered the IDF to make security exceptions for PA farmers whose lands are separated from their homes by the security fence.
Legal observers note that Israel withdrew from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and that the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction in contentious cases is limited by consent of the parties to the dispute. Israel would be under no obligation to agree to ICJ jurisdiction effectively limiting the court to issuing an advisory opinion.
A 2004 ruling by the ICJ that Israel's security fence must be removed was rejected by the Jewish state. At the time, Israel issued a 246 page written statement to the court, but chose not to participate in the proceedings.
PA refusal to seek redress in Israel's courts, legal observers say, will only serve to remove a tool that has frequently proven effective while petitioning international courts using proxies – as the PA is not a state and has no standing – will prove ineffective.
Assaf's comments come on the same day PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh declared Hamas would join the PLO and that they would be forming a unity government.
The announcement was made one day after PLO officials threatened to downgrade all bilateral agreements with Israel and to completely sever security ties.
Also on Wednesday, PLO officials told reporters they had decided on "a strategy based on continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."
Hamas has steadfastly refused any diplomatic process with Israel and continues to call for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel. Likewise, the PLO charter continues to assert "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”
It also maintains “Palestine” is defined by the British Mandate and is “indivisible” – thus leaving no room for Israel to exist at all.