US President Barack Obama asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to Israel and the West Bank which concluded on Friday not to take action against Israel at the International Criminal Court for any reason, including settlement construction, London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Saturday, citing Palestinian sources.
The PA has hinted on numerous occasions since it gained recognition as a non-member observer state at the UN in November that it was considering complaining to the ICC against Israel for approving construction of new housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
According to Asharq al-Awsat, Abbas told Obama that he would wait two months before taking any action at the ICC in hopes that the US could convince Israel to freeze settlement construction as a precondition for relaunching peace talks. He added, however, that should Israel follow through on plans to build in the E1 corridor between Jerusalem and the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement, he would turn to the ICC immediately.
Palestinians contend that Israeli building in E1 would separate east Jerusalem from the West Bank, damaging the prospects for the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.