Jordan's King Abdullah II (R), his son Crown Prince Hussein (L) and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas meet in Amman ahead of the churches' celebrations of Christmas on December 18, 2018.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO / PPO / THAER GHANAIM)
The Palestinian Authority stepped up its criticism of Israel on Tuesday and called on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a “criminal investigation” into Israeli “crimes and violations” against the Palestinians.
The call, which was made by the PA Cabinet after its weekly meeting in Ramallah, came in response to the recent Israeli security measures in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks near Ofra and Giv’at Asaf.
Palestinian officials in Ramallah maintain that the Israeli security measures undermine the PA and embolden extremist elements, including Hamas.
“The Cabinet calls on the Prosecutor of the ICC to launch a criminal investigation that would serve as deterrence to the occupation’s crimes and a tool for bringing about absent justice,” the statement said. “The Cabinet also renews its call to Arab and Islamic governments and all friendly countries to assume their responsibilities toward the Palestinian cause, which is facing attempts by the Israeli occupation to liquidate it with unprecedented backing from the US administration.”
The PA statement condemned the Israeli security measures as “assaults, aggression and terrorism.” It accused the IDF and “herds of settlers of carrying out incursions into Palestinian cities in violation of international law and in breach of Palestinian sovereignty.”
The statement also accused Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings, arrests, and house demolitions, as well as besieging cities and villages and restricting the movement of Palestinians by setting up checkpoints.”
These measures, the PA argued, demonstrate Israel’s “disregard for international laws, while the silence of the international community encourages it to continue with its violations.”
The PA’s statement was referring to the killing of Saleh Barghouti,
who is suspected of involvement in the Ofra drive-by shooting attack, and Ashraf Na’awla, who killed two Israelis in the Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel, as well as the demolition of the latter’s house in the village of Shweika, near Tulkarm, and the demolition of the house of Islam Abu Hmaid in Ramallah’s al-Am’ari refugee camp. Abu Hmaid is accused of throwing a marble slab that killed an IDF soldier last May.
“The cabinet strongly condemns the crime of collective punishment,” the statement said, adding that the house demolitions were a “war crime and a crime against humanity.”
The PA Cabinet also strongly condemned Israeli “incitement” against PA President Mahmoud Abbas - a reference to a statement made by Likud MK Oren Hazan, who was quoted as saying, “We demand Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] head,” and posters distributed by the far Right group Derech Chaim calling for the assassination of the PA president.
“This incitement, which is being carried out with the backing of the Israeli government, feeds the terrorism against the Palestinian people and their leadership,” the PA statement charged.
Abbas, meanwhile, met in Amman on Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and discussed with him the latest developments in the West Bank.
A PA official in Ramallah said that Abbas briefed the Jordanian monarch on the latest Israeli “escalation, especially the increase in arrests of Palestinians, incursions into Palestinian cities and house demolitions.”
Abbas, the official said, also briefed King Abdullah on Israel’s “continued assaults on Jerusalem and Islamic and Christian holy sites.”
King Abdullah, for his part, stressed the need to break the stalemate in the peace process through launching serious and effective peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis, according to Jordan’s office news agency Petra.
“The King reiterated that negotiations should be based on a two-state solution leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the June 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Petra said. The king, it added, also stressed Jordan’s “rejection of unilateral Israeli actions, including building settlement units and expropriation of Palestinian-owned lands in the occupied West Bank, which are a real obstacle to achieving just and lasting peace according to the two-state solution.”
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