Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) meets with the Palestinian leadership to sign agreements in Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The Obama administration stood strongly opposed to "entirely counter-productive" moves on Wednesday taken by the Palestinian Authority toward membership at the International Criminal Court.
"We are deeply troubled by today’s Palestinian action regarding the ICC," Jeff Rathke, Director of the Office of Press Relations at the State Department, said in a statement. "It is an escalatory step that will not achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed 20 international agreements on New Year's Eve, including the Rome Statute of the ICC, paving the way for criminal charges against Israel for alleged war crimes committed in Palestinian lands.
"Actions like this are not the answer," Rathke said, calling the latest action "badly damaging" and one of many that "undermine trust and create doubts about their commitment to a negotiated peace."
Washington also strongly opposed Tuesday's failed bid at the UN
Security Council by the Palestinian Authority to set a timetable for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank by 2017. The US and Australia voted against the measure.
Israel has said it will respond proportionally to the new Palestinian moves, to protect Israel's sovereignty and its people.
Rathke said the US seeks to facilitate a resumption of peace talks toward a two-state solution for two peoples, and hopes both sides will avoid taking further steps that make matters worse.
"Hard as it is," he continued, "all sides need to find a way to work constructively and cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and find a path forward. "