Palestinian Leadership Argues Severing Ties With Israel Shouldn't Influence International Court

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Palestinian PMMohammad Shtayyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas attend the funeral of former senior Fatah official Ahmed Abdel Rahman, in Ramallah, December 4, 2019.
Palestinian PMMohammad Shtayyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas attend the funeral of former senior Fatah official Ahmed Abdel Rahman, in Ramallah, December 4, 2019.Credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has confirmed it would respond to the International Criminal Court's questions regarding the decision to sever all ties with Israel and the status of the Oslo Accords by a June 10 deadline.

The ICC on Tuesday demanded clarification on the matter, as it may have ramifications for its jurisdiction in investigating alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.

Omar Awadallah, the head of the Foreign Ministry department for UN affairs, said that the PA’s decision should not impact the international court, as it does not affect the status of Palestine as a state within 1967 borders, recognized by most countries around the world and with observer status at the United Nations since 2012.

According to international treaties, the Palestinians have a right to declare that they’re free of treaty obligations or to freeze agreements, Awadallah argued, adding that this would be the position presented to the ICC as part of their response.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told ambassadors from Arab states at a meeting in his Rammallah office Wednesday that his government, under Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership, was determined to carry out its decision. “The Palestinian Authority has started implementing this decision on the ground by ceasing its coordination with Israel at all levels,” he said. “Israel has responded by taking steps aimed at foiling the PA plan, inciting against Palestinian leaders.”

Shtayyeh welcomed international reactions and the position taken by Arab states, which expressed their opposition to annexation. He called on the international community to go further and put pressure on Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas (R) and PLO Sec-Gen Saeb Erekat (C-R) look on as Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (C) reads a statement during an Arab League, Cairo, February 1, 2020.Credit: KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

Moroccan ambassador to the PA, Mohammed al-Hamzawi, said that annexation would destroy the two-state solution and destabilize the region, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

Haaretz has learned that, following talks with regional powers and with representatives of European countries, the PA believes the implementation of the annexation plan would encourage other states to take similar steps. They warned of Iran’s intention to annex islands in the Persian Gulf, or Turkey’s historical claims over parts of Cyprus. “The world, including the Arab states, has to read the map correctly. A green light from the White House to Israel will encourage similar behavior from other states, which could lead to escalation” said a Palestinian official in conversation with Haaretz.

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