The Palestinian Authority’s move on Tuesday to get the International Criminal Court to probe Israelis for alleged war crimes was counterproductive and not conducive to peace, according to the US State Department.“We have long believed that these types of actions are not conducive to peace,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a press briefing Tuesday night. “We are not a party to the International Criminal Court… We oppose the actions taking place against Israel at the International Criminal Court because we see that simply as counterproductive.”“We oppose actions against Israel… at the International Criminal...because it doesn’t help the cause for peace,” she said. “And that is one of the priorities of this administration, getting the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table where they can have a good, concrete negotiation about the peace process going forward. And the ICC just doesn’t do that.”
Reporters asked Nauert questions about the US view of the PA’s meeting with the ICC and its submission of new complaints against Israelis.During the press conference, she was also asked if “Israel needs to be accountable to the Palestinians?” “I think we have long talked about the situation going on in Gaza… about the misery that the people face in Gaza is because of Hamas,” she said. “We have seen and have watched… the previous clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians and those of Gaza... We’ve continued to call on Hamas to take better care of its people; it’s not taking care of its people.”In addition, Nauert was asked, “Will you take action to close the PLO office because they’ve now gone to the ICC?” “I know that was an issue that was brought up before under our previous secretary,” she said. “As far as I am aware, that is all under consideration – the status of the PLO office… I’m not going to get ahead of any additional – potential steps” that might be taken. On Tuesday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would not hesitate to criminally investigate alleged Israeli war crimes if required by the binding Rome Statute.Her statement came after a meeting with PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki at The Hague on Tuesday, where he gave her a new submission about new alleged war-crimes issues.Malki and the PA accuse Israeli soldiers and officials of war crimes relating to the IDF’s killing of more than 100 Palestinians on the Gaza border over the last six weeks and regarding the 2014 Gaza War, as well as blame Israel for building 10,000 illegal units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of the settlement enterprise.Following the Tuesday ICC press conference, Bensouda’s office issued a statement saying that complaints from the PA “does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation.Should I, however, ultimately determine that the situation referred warrants an investigation,” she can proceed to open an investigation without approval from the International Criminal Court itself.
Palestinians demand full investigation into Israel at Hague ICC court, May 22, 2018 (Reuters)