Erekat: election results mean Palestinians will press at ICC

Anthony Weiss

(JTA) — The chief Palestinian negotiator expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government and has declared that the Palestinians in turn will push forward with diplomatic efforts at the International Criminal Court.

“It is clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government, and for that, we say clearly that we will go to the Hague Tribunal, we will accelerate, continue and intensify” diplomatic efforts, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Agence France-Presse.

President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for Palestine to join the ICC on January 1, and Palestine is slated to fully join the court on April 1. In the meantime, the ICC has begun the process for opening an investigation into potential Israeli war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Israel has responded to Palestine’s application to the ICC by withholding more than $400 million in taxes and customs revenue.

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Hamas likewise argued that the Israeli election results call for a more confrontational approach with Israel. Hamas official Ismail Radwan says in the Gaza Strip, according to a report by Deutsche Presse-Agenteur. The news agency quoted a statement by Hamas official Ismail Radwan, who said, “The results should be enough to convince the Palestinian Authority and Fatah Party to forget about the choice of keeping the absurd negotiations.”

Netanyahu declared in a speech on Monday that he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state if he remained prime minister.