Palestinians warn: We will join the Hague

Fatah leader Mohamed Shtayyeh says if Israel is unable to reach agreement on borders, the PA will apply to join Int'l Criminal Court.

ICC 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
ICC 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority is only prepared to negotiate borders at this point in the peace talks, Fatah leader and negotiator Mohamed Shtayyeh told Sky News on Wednesday night.
A focus on border negotiations would show if Israel and the US are serious about reaching an agreement, he said, adding that the PA planned to join 63 international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, if the talks did not produce a border deal.
PA envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour suggested that PA President Mahmoud Abbas might apply for even more memberships in international organizations, as the PA is eligible for up to 550, according to a report by Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
But Abbas's decision could backfire on him in the US Congress, where pro-Israel sentiment runs high. Several lawmakers warned on Wednesday that a Palestinian resort to international agencies could trigger a cutoff of US aid.
"It is counterproductive and doesn't move them closer to any final resolution," New York Representative Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, told a congressional hearing.
Shtayyeh told Sky News that Abbas' decision to join 15 international organizations on Tuesday was due to Israel's decision not to release the fourth round of prisoners, and that Israel is therefore responsible for US Secretary of State John Kerry canceling his trip to Ramallah planned for Wednesday.
Reuters contributed to this report.