Bolton Says International Court 'dead to Us'

11 September, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Carlos George
  • Trump administration to close Palestinian leadership's office in a bid to mount pressure over peace deal

Any countries supporting the investigation and cooperating with the ICC will be subject to secondary sanctions, Bolton warned.

While the charter laying out the initial organization of the PLO charter called for the destruction of Israel in 33 separate articles, it formally recognized Israel's right to exist in 1993, in return for Israel recognizing it as the "official representative" of and the point of contact for the Palestinian people.

Erekat responded back then that such a move would undermine prospects of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"In theory, the ICC holds perpetrators of the most egregious atrocities accountable for their crimes, provides justice to the victims, and deters future abuses".

"We will not cooperate with the ICC".

Bolton added that "While the court welcomes the membership of the so-called state of Palestine, it has threatened Israel, a liberal, democratic nation, with investigation into its actions in the West Bank and Gaza to defend its citizens from terrorist attacks".

"The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel", Bolton will say at a midday speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington, according to Reuters.

"We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", Mr. Bolton adds. We will not join the ICC.

Congress in 2015 mandated that the PLO mission be shut if the Palestinians initiate or support an investigation by the court against Israelis.

Bolton reportedly threatened to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from the US and to impose sanctions on any funds they might have in the USA financial system. "We will sanction their funds in the United States financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", he said. He also said these measures would apply to companies and countries that assist the ICC in investigating the U.S.

The U.S. has had an up-and-down relationship with the I.C.C. - founded to provide sanctions against individuals committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide - since it was founded by the Rome Statute in 1998.

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"The United States continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward", spokeswoman Nauert said in her statement.

"If the court comes after us, Israel or other USA allies, we will not sit quietly", Bolton warned. Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Bolton pledged that the USA will not let global bureaucrats determine what actions are justifiable when it comes to defending the country from its enemies.

The court has burned through $1.5 billion in funding and secured only eight convictions since its inception.

"Such a reckless act confirms that the administration is blindly executing Israel's 'wish list, ' which starts with shutting down Palestinian diplomatic representation in the U.S.", he said in a statement. Former President Bill Clinton waived that law in 1994, allowing the office to open with a six-month renewal period signed off by the sitting US President.

Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO mission in Washington, told journalists in Ramallah that the closure was "to protect Israel from war crimes.".

Although the US does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO has maintained in Washington a general delegation office that facilitates Palestinian officials' interactions with the USA government.

"On the one hand, Palestinian-US relations have been frozen and the PLO representative had left Washington since the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem last December".

"It is ironic that the USA is punishing the PLO, the national representative of the Palestinian people and the highest political body that made the commitment to reaching a political and legal settlement of the Palestinian question and that has engaged in negotiations with successive United States administrations for decades", said Ashrawi, a PLO executive committee member. It also contends that the PLO is refusing to engage with the US government on peace efforts.

"This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration's policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people", Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said.

A senior Palestinian official called the decision a "dangerous escalation".

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