Netanyahu Slams ICC Bid: The PA Isn't a State

PM in emergency meeting calls on ICC to reject 'hypocritical' request of PA to join, notes PA recently formed pact with Hamas terror group.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar ,

Binyamin Netanyahu at the meeting
Binyamin Netanyahu at the meeting
Chaim Tzah/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held an emergency meeting at the prime minister's office in Tel Aviv on Thursday to discuss the Palestinian Authority (PA) attempt to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), so as to sue Israel for "war crimes."

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas launched the ICC move by signing the Rome Convention on Wednesday along with a whole slew of other international conventions - in breach of the Oslo Accords - after his attempt to press for recognition and Israeli withdrawals at the UN Security Council fell short.

"We expect the international court to reject out of hand the hypocritical request of the Palestinian Authority, since the Palestinian Authority is not a state," pointed out Netanyahu at the conclusion of the meeting.

Indeed, Abbas signed on to the Rome Convention and the others he requested to join as the "state of Palestine."

Elaborating on this point, Netanyahu said the PA "is an entity that has a treaty with a terrorist organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes, and the state of Israel is a lawful nation with an ethical army that observes all international laws."

"We will defend the IDF soldiers as they defend us," added Netanyahu, responding to the PA intention to sue soldiers for "war crimes."

Experts asses the ICC move would open the PA up to war crime suits for its involvement in terrorism against Israelis, and likely cause Israel and the US to drop their funding of the PA, effectively collapsing it. Israel for its part may face sanctions given the politicized nature of the ICC, which would likely rule against it despite the falsehood of the charges.

In an interesting turn of events Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) was not invited to the meeting.

Sources in the foreign ministry criticized Netanyahu for not inviting Liberman, accusing him of wanting to avoid "challenging" suggestions from the foreign minister. They added that the results of the meeting were known in advance, and therefore only clerks from Netanyahu's office were invited.