Abbas Moves Toward ICC After UN Failure

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has now moved a step closer to making good on its threat to go to the International

Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour

Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour

Criminal Court (ICC) and bring charges against Israel. There is little doubt that this was a move Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried desperately to avoid. In the end, he was forced to do it by a combination of U.S.-Israeli rejectionism, Palestinian desperation to do something to try to end Israel’s occupation, and his own many missteps.

Abbas signed on to 18 international agreements after the quixotic attempt to pass a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) predictably failed. Among them was the 1998 Rome Statute, which established the ICC and took formal effect in 2002. This is the step that the U.S. and Israel have warned Abbas against most strongly. Among all the “unilateral steps” the Palestinians could take (which, one should note, is no more “unilateral” than any number of actions taken by Israel on a routine basis), this is the one Israel worries about most. Read more at LobeLog

3 thoughts on “Abbas Moves Toward ICC After UN Failure

  1. Fascinating analysis there Mitchell, thank you. The one part where I was hungering for more was in an assessement of the chances of the EU bringing the kind of pressure you are talking about to bear on Israel, and when – before or after the election. Sending a strong signal before the election might push the Right to warn in apocalyptic terms of Europe’s betrayal and age-old antisemitism, encouraging the faction that would simply expel Arab Israelis and Palestinians. On the other hand, it might help the electorate see that its decades-long affair with the Right leads to nowhere. What thinkest thou?

  2. Hi, Patrick, and thanks for the kind words.
    On the EU, it’s always difficult to say, and my framing in the piece above is much more long term than the upcoming elections. I think as well that for all the hand-wringing in the the US about how the Israeli right will use Palestinian actions, it really amounts to very little impact; Israel, and especially its more extreme right wingers, are going to find an excuse to act in the way they wish, no matter what the Palestinians do, and Palestinian actions will play very little in terms of who votes for whom in Israel (the overall situation will be much more meaningful in terms of campaigns) so for me, the vagaries of the upcoming election don’t impact this piece of analysis very much.
    In the longer term, I think Europe eventually will apply more pressure on Israel. A few factors will contribute to this.
    One, as more time passes and the Holocaust recedes farther back into history, the guilt Europe (quite rightly) feels regarding the Jews will become less and less entangled with policy toward Israel.
    Two, Israeli actions are becoming more burdensome for European businesses. We’ve already seen a few isolated examples of European businesses and investment firms suspend business with Israel over potential connections to the occupation. As Israel becomes more hard-line, that will also increase. The efforts of the BDS movement, for better or worse, are most keenly impactful in this regard, and i think we can expect those efforts and that impact to increase gradually over the years.
    Third and lastly, while I think rhetoric in the US is going to increase after Obama leaves office, I also think US involvement in this issue will decrease. Funding and anything else Congress can do will remain steady, of course, but I think the next president and State Department are going to be expending a lot less energy on this issue. That will open a door for Europe, one which they don’t have to walk through, but one I expect they will stick a proverbial toe into and gradually, even glacially, start exerting more of the considerable influence they could potentially have.

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