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      Abbas to Pursue Israel at Criminal Court Over Housing Plans

      PA chairman Abbas said “Palestine” could pursue Israel at International Criminal Court if it pushes ahead with housing plans.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 12/11/2012, 7:10 PM

      Turkey's President Gul and PA Chairman Abbas
      Turkey's President Gul and PA Chairman Abbas
      Reuters

      Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday that “Palestine” could pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it pushes ahead with plans to build thousands of new Jewish homes in Jerusalem.

      Responding to a question posed by reporters in Ankara as to whether the PA would employ its new upgraded states at the United Nations to file complains against Israel at the ICC, Abbas replied in the affirmative, saying that such a move is only one of several options that would be considered.

      "If Israel continues with this (settlement plan), we will respond using all methods, obviously peaceful, and including the court," said the PA chairman at a press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

      The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved granting the PA “non-member” observer status on November 29, in a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, thus providing it access to a range of UN agencies, including the ICC.

      In response to the unilateral efforts of the PA to secure statehood and bypass final status negotiations with Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced new plans to build 3,000 new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, as well as the contentious area between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, known as E1.

      In an attempt to strip the State of Israel of its lawful and just rights to its eternal capital of Jerusalem, Abbas said that building new Jewish homes in the area would be a "red line" not to be crossed.

      Gul also "strongly condemned" the proposed Israeli housing plan, which has already been swamped by international criticism, and urged Israel not to "play with fire."

      Abbas has previously said he had no plans to immediately petition the tribunal "except in the case of Israeli aggression."

      Turkey, hosting Abbas on his first foreign trip since the UN vote, has been a staunch advocate of the “Palestinian” cause.

      Turkish-Israel relations became increasingly hostile in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Arab activists seeking to infiltrate Israel’s borders. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists, including one US citizen.