Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasFlash 90

The Palestinian Authority submitted an incomplete text of a speech by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague leaving out a paragraph where Abbas admitted to crimes against humanity, according to a report by Palestinian Media Watch.

The speech in question was given by Abbas on May 19, 2020. In his remarks, Abbas stated that the PA was no longer bound by its obligations under the Oslo Accords due to the Israeli coalition agreement which allowed for the application of sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria beginning from July 1.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas stated.

The ICC requested a clarification from the PA following the speech, as Israel and its defenders have used the Oslo Accords to argue that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate the Jewish State

In its response, the PA altered the content of the speech to say that Ramallah would only withdraw fully from the Oslo Accords if Israel went ahead with the application of sovereignty.

The PA response read: “Substantively, the Statement declares that if Israel proceeds with annexation, a material breach of the agreements between the two sides, then it will have annulled any remnants of the Oslo Accords and all other agreements concluded between them.”

In addition, the version of the speech which was submitted to the ICC left out a section. in which Abbas pledged to continue paying salaries to terrorists.

In the version submitted to the ICC, which was translated from Arabic, Abbas was quoted as saying: “Eighth: ... We pledge to our honored martyrs, our brave prisoners and our heroic wounded to remain faithful to our oath until victory, freedom, independence and return are achieved...”

In the original speech, Abbas added the following declaration, which was not included in the version given to the ICC: “Currently, [the Israelis] have asked the banks not to pay the prisoners. We will pay the prisoners, and let [the Israelis] just try to stop us.”

Last year, the ICC Prosecutor noted that the PA's payments to terrorists could be considered war crimes. The ICC Prosecutor Report on Preliminary Examination Activities stated that the payments “encouraged and provided financial incentives for the commission of violence through their provision of payments to the families of Palestinians who were involved, in particular, in carrying out attacks against Israeli citizens, and under the circumstances, the payment of such stipends may give rise to Rome Statute crimes.”

Attorney Maurice Hirsch, head of the legal department at Palestinian Media Watch, said that "the PA's need to lie to the court stems from two reasons. First, on the one hand, the PA understands that the basis for its existence stems from the Oslo Accords. On the other hand, those same agreements refute its claim that the "State of Palestine" has jurisdiction over the Israelis, which can be delegated to the court. Secondly, the PA is now making obvious attempts to conceal the rewards it pays to terrorists."

"An admission by Abbas that he and the PA conduct an act which is considered a "war crime" could complicate matters for the PA and its officials. Unfortunately, it appears that Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has failed in her duties and did not bring the PA's conflicting statements before the court. She also failed in her duty to point out the missing parts of the document submitted by the PA. All of this, apparently, is in light of the existing coordination between the prosecutor and the PA."