Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has declared that the PA’s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be fully active by April, the Ma’an news agency reports.

Abbas said the most important issues to bring to the ICC were “Israeli settlements and assaults.”

The comments, which were made Friday, came during Abbas's visit to Tunisia, during which he and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi discussed the latest Palestinian, Arab, and international political developments.

The PA applied earlier this month to become a party to the Hague-based ICC and recognized its jurisdiction to retroactively cover a period including the Gaza war. The move came after the PA failed to pass a unilateral motion at the United Nations which would have forced an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

The ICC recently announced it was launching a "preliminary examination" into possible war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinian Arabs.

The probe was slammed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said, “Israel rejects the absurd decision of the ICC prosecutor. It’s absurd for the ICC to ignore international law and agreements, under which the Palestinians don't have a state and can only get one through direct negotiations with Israel."

Legal rights experts have said that having the ICC enter the fray of the Israeli-Arab conflict will ultimately harm the PA, Hamas, and the ICC itself - not Israel. 

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 Arab terrorist groups are far worse violators of international law themselves.