Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasReuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to launch a war crimes probe against Israel.

In a statement from his office quoted by the WAFA news agency, Abbas praised "the independence and courage of the Prosecutor in defending the right and freedoms," while also praising "the tireless efforts made in previous years to reach the goals we seek."

Abbas expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the PA “foreign ministry” and its diplomatic staff, which carried out its duties as directed by Abbas “in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people, praising, in particular, the role of the National Committee for Follow-up of the Court's file and civil society institutions in this field.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the ICC’s decision on Wednesday and called it “absurd”, adding, “It's undiluted anti-Semitism and the height of hypocrisy.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden Administration opposes the move and stressed, “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”

Before that, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the Biden administration opposes and is disappointed with the ICC decision.

Price told reporters the ICC has “no jurisdiction over this matter," which he said "unfairly" targets Israel.