State Dept. says 'PA has no right to join the ICC'

Spokesperson condemns Abbas's unilateral move in meeting with International Criminal Court, but says Kerry 'still believes in progress.'

Nitsan Keidar,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's unilateral step late Friday, in which he held his first meeting with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in an attempt to sue Israel for "war crimes."

After officially being admitted to the ICC on April 1 in a unilateral move breaching the 1994 Oslo Accords that formed the PA, Abbas's meeting Friday was his first with ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and he used it to submit documents accusing Israel of "ethnic cleansing."

Kirby responded by saying the US isn't pleased with the one-sided moves by the PA.

"We don't believe that the Palestinians have the legal right to be part of the Rome Convention and to join the International Criminal Court," said Kirby, noting that the PA is not a state. "We oppose the activities against Israel at the court in the Hague, and are waiting for the Palestinians to explain what this meeting was announced for."

Turning his attention to the Arab terror wave sweeping Israel, Kirby said, "we continue to press both sides to create calm and end the violence that doesn't help either side."

Reporters from Arab news outlets attempted to get Kirby to issue a condemnation of Israel's defensive actions against the terror, but this time the spokesperson did not openly criticize Israel.

"We support Israel's right to ensure the security of its residents, but we hope that all the means that Israel uses are done with a minimum harm to civilians."

"The Secretary of State (John Kerry) feels that there is potential here not only for calm, but for progress. He believes that the cameras on the Temple Mount will calm tensions, and after his meeting with the sides, there is in his opinion room for optimism."

The mention of the cameras refers to how the government recently agreed to set up security cameras to help ban Jewish prayer at the holiest site in Judaism.