Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasReuters

A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official on Monday told the London-based Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was preparing to respond to the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem by filing lawsuits against politicians and IDF commanders at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and by having the PA join additional international organizations.

"There is a legal case that has been prepared against a number of Israeli military commanders who committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and another against senior Israeli officials who approved decisions regarding settlement on occupied land, and that case will be transferred to the International Criminal Court," the official said.

He added that the Palestinians intended to respond to U.S. and Israeli measures only in a diplomatic way but one that would be "very painful," as he put it.

"The United States and Israel violated all the understandings when the Americans recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and then transferred the embassy there, stopped the financial aid and approved the closure of the PLO office. We are now disconnecting from them and responding diplomatically and legally," said the official.

The PA has filed complaints against Israel with the ICC in the past. The PA officially joined the ICC on April 1, 2015, and immediately filed a series of legal complaints with the court. In addition to claiming that Israel committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war, it also claimed that Israeli “settlements” are “an ongoing war crime”.

The PA has had standing at the court since the UN General Assembly recognized the "state of Palestine" as a non-member observer in 2012.

Last week, senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Saeb Erekat said that the PA leadership has decided to file a war crimes complaint against Israel with the ICC.