Abbas says settlement plans are a 'red line'

PA president hints he could lodge complaint against Israel in ICC, says "we want to live in security and stability with Israel."

December 5, 2012 17:35
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN.

Abbas at the UN 390. (photo credit: Screenshot Al Jazeera)

Israel’s plan to build new housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank, especially in the area known as E1, is a red line because it will divide the Palestinian lands, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cautioned Wednesday.

Speaking to Palestinian journalists in his Ramallah office, Abbas said that the PA leadership has been in contact with several international parties to prevent Israel from implementing its plan.

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“If that happens, we will resort to all legitimate and legal methods,” Abbas said, hinting at the possibility that the PA may lodge a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court. “There is what we could do and say to prevent this dangerous decision.”

Abbas said that all Israeli measures on the ground must be removed “because international law forbids the occupation from taking any action in the lands of an occupied state.”

Today, Abbas added, “We are an occupied state and the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to us as a non-member observer state in the UN General Assembly.” Abbas revealed that the PA has set up a special committee to discuss the Palestinians’ future steps in wake of their success at the UN.

The committee will discuss all legal aspects and ways of applying for membership in various international organizations and agencies, he said.

Abbas said that the decision to go to the UN was not aimed at delegitimizing or isolating Israel.

“Rather, we want to live in security and stability with Israel,” he stressed. “Israel used to say that this is a disputed land. We went to the UN to affirm that this is a state under occupation and it is forbidden to change its demographic character.”

The PA president said the Palestinians would file a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court “when it attacks us.”

Palestinians were entitled to defend themselves against “occupation through a peaceful and unarmed resistance as ensured by international law,” he added.

Also Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described Israel’s plan to build new housing as a “war crime.” He said the Palestinians were now studying their response to the Israeli decision.

Erekat said that “all of Israel’s actions since 1967 on Palestinian territories – including building settlements and the separation wall, as well as the transfer of civilians [to the settlements] and holding Palestinians in Israeli prisons – were all tantamount to a war crimes.”

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