Palestinians: We Reserve Right to Turn to The Hague if Peace Talks With Israel Fail

President Abbas briefs delegates on meeting with President Obama in Ramallah; Palestinian official warns of appeal to International Criminal Court if attempts to renew negotiations in the coming months fail.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called in a speech Tuesday for the Arab League to appeal to the UN and to the international community in an attempt to "stop Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank, with an emphasis on East Jerusalem."

Speaking at the Arab League summit in Doha, Abbas informed the heads of Arab countries about his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama last weekend in Ramallah. He relayed that he told Obama that the Palestinians continue to insist on the establishment of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

A delegation representing the Arab League is scheduled to arrive in Washington in the coming weeks for a meeting with senior government officials. They are slated to discuss ideas for renewing peace talks based on two chief principles: A predetermined timetable for talks and operational decisions for ending the occupation and facilitating the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders, with a capital in East Jerusalem.

A Palestinian official involved in the Doha talks told Haaretz that if after three to four months Arab delegates and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry fail to come up with ways to renew peace negotiations, the Palestinians reserve the right to turn to the International Criminal Court in Hague.

"We welcome the decision to establish a fund to support Palestinians in Jerusalem and the renewed offer to provide an economic safety net for the PA," the official said, "but if within a few months there will be no serious offer on the diplomatic horizon, the PA will understand that they can no longer rely on false promises."

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called for Arab and Islamic cooperation in trying to reach a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Morsi pointed out that Israel's settlements policy has been endangering the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.

Jordan's King Abdullah II said that not only Arab countries but the international community that supported the establishment of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly is committed to continue efforts at reaching a two-state solution along the 1967 borders.

The king also sharply criticized Israeli policy, asserting that the Israeli government is acting to change Jerusalem's identity by evicting its Palestinian residents. Abdullah also said the Israeli government is damaging Christian and Muslim holy sites by trying to determine facts on the ground in the Temple Mount.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas looks on during the opening of the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, March 26, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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