Palestinian president signs bid to join International Criminal Court
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories – President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, December 31, signed a Palestinian request to join the International Criminal Court, seeking a new avenue for action against Israel after a failed UN resolution on ending the occupation.
Abbas signed the request along with applications to join 20 other international conventions during a meeting broadcast live on Palestinian television.
The Palestinians hope an ICC membership will pave the way for war crimes prosecutions against Israeli officials for their actions in the occupied territories.
The Hague-based ICC can prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and Palestinian plans to become a party to the court have been strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.
Israel warned that joining the court would also expose the Palestinians to prosecution.
The applications came one day after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on ending the Israeli occupation.
The resolution would have set a 12-month deadline for Israel to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians, and called for a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.
Council heavyweights China, France and Russia were among 8 countries voting in favor, while the United States and Australia voted against.
Israel on Wednesday summoned the French ambassador over his country's support for the UN resolution. – Rappler.com