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PA Continuing with Efforts to Join International Criminal Court

PA’s Foreign Affairs Minister meets ICC officials ahead of possible action against "Israeli war crimes in Gaza".
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/6/2014, 1:15 AM

Riyad al-Malki
Riyad al-Malki
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is continuing its efforts to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Ma’an news agency reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the PA’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, met with ICC officials to discuss the Israeli operation in Gaza.

During his visit, Al-Maliki inquired about the legal procedures necessary for the PA to join the ICC and sign the Rome Statute in order to take action against possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza, according to the report.

Al-Maliki said he would consult members of the Palestinian Authority government on the matter after his visit.

He noted that the PA should now qualify for ICC membership due to its status as a UN non-member observer state.

PA officials realize, however, that joining the ICC is a calculated risk because it would give Israel a forum to pursue war crimes charges against the PA as well and particularly against Hamas.

In a recent interview, the PA's envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) admitted the PA has no hope of pressing charges against Israel in international courts - because Palestinian terrorist groups are far worse violators of international law themselves.

Noting concerns that Israel could launch legal offensives of its own against the PA should it sign up to the ICC, the presenter asked whether such a move would be realistic. The response was unequivocal.

"The missiles that are now being launched against Israel - each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets," he said.

Shurat Hadin, a non-governmental organization that operates against terrorists through the courts, has warned it would lodge 'a tsunami' of criminal complaints against senior PA officials, should the PA go through with its application to join the ICC.