Jerusalem24 – The Israeli government is considering imposing sanctions on Palestinian Authority leaders after the International Criminal Court’s decision last week that it has jurisdiction to investigate Israeli war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This ruling came after the Palestinian Authority joined the Rome Statutes and became a member of the International Criminal Court in 2015. Then it filed a complaint about Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli officials considered the unilateral joining international organizations and opening a war crimes case as violations of the Oslo Accords. As a result of the decision of the International Criminal Court, the Israeli Ministerial Task Force for the International Criminal Court led by former Minister Ze’ev Elkin recommended sanctions against the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in response to their efforts at the ICC.
Elkin led the inter-ministerial working group from May to December of last year before resigning from the government to run with the New Hope party in next month’s elections. Among the recommended penalties, senior Palestinian officials are denied travel abroad on the pretext that they threaten the freedom of movement of Israeli officials and military officers through possible arrest warrants for their arrest.
Another recommendation was that Palestinian officials be charged with inciting “terrorism”, and that for every Israeli officer who is arrested for committing war crimes, charges will be brought against a Palestinian Authority official. Elkin has reportedly recommended a settlement construction plan in the West Bank in response to every hostile step taken by the Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu’s office did not confirm or deny the news. A senior government official said Israel was “looking into all kinds of possibilities.”
“It is clear that our concern is not related only to Israel and the court, but to the behavior of the Palestinians,” the official said. The problem is the Palestinian decision to join the court and file charges against Israel. Last Friday, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court ruled that the attorney general could investigate war crimes in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem committed since June 13, 2014, including potential lawsuits against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli military ministers and other senior officials.
The European Union expressed its strong support for the International Criminal Court last week. “The ICC and its Prosecutor are independent and impartial judicial institutions with no political goals to pursue, and the European Union is a strong supporter of the ICC and its independence,” said EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano.