After Palestinian request from ICJ, US warns against ‘unilateral actions’

“We discouraged publicly the Palestinians from moving forward with this ICJ opinion because we didn’t want to see tensions exacerbated,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price

FILE PHOTO: General view of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands January 23, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/EVA PLEVIER/FILE PHOTO)
FILE PHOTO: General view of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands January 23, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/EVA PLEVIER/FILE PHOTO)

WASHINGTON - State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday that “part of the reason why the US opposed the Palestinian move when it comes to the ICJ, [is] knowing that it could potentially only serve to increase tensions.”

“That is exactly what has happened,” he said during the daily press briefing.

“We have been consistent in our own strong opposition to the request for an ICJ advisory opinion concerning Israel.”

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price

“We have been consistent in our own strong opposition to the request for an ICJ advisory opinion concerning Israel,” said Price. “We’ve talked about that before, including last week. We believe this action was counterproductive and will only take the parties further away from the objective of a negotiated two-state solution. We are seeking both sides to take steps to move them closer to a negotiated two-state solution.”

He went on to say that the US has “continued to make the point that unilateral actions that threaten the viability of a two-state solution, unilateral actions that only exacerbate tensions – those are not in the interests of a negotiated two-state solution.”

US view on Palestinian Authority sanctions

Asked if he believed that Israel’s newly approved sanctions in response to the Palestinians' move - including withholding some tax revenues - are also considered a unilateral action, Price replied: “It is fair to call it a unilateral response. We discouraged publicly the Palestinians from moving forward with this ICJ opinion because we didn’t want to see tensions exacerbated.”

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, US, March 10, 2022. (credit: MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL VIA REUTERS)US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, US, March 10, 2022. (credit: MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL VIA REUTERS)

“We have private discussions with our Israeli partners as well,” Price clarified. “It is clear that these steps have served to exacerbate tensions. This is not in the interests of a long-term negotiated solution.”

When asked if he was referring to the Palestinian request for an ICJ advisory opinion or to the Israeli sanctions in response, Price said: “We’re talking about both.”

“We’ve also been clear that Israelis and Palestinians alike, equally, deserve to live in safety, in security,” he continued. “They deserve equal measures of freedom, of dignity, justice, and prosperity as well. And we’ll continue to encourage all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that threaten the viability of a two-state solution and the path towards direct negotiations.”