Ties between Jerusalem and Ramallah will not be “business as usual,” in light of the Palestinian Authority’s successful appeal to have the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, a senior Israeli official said on Monday.
“The Palestinian leadership has to understand there are consequences for their actions,” the Israeli official said.
Asked if Israel rejected recent proposals by other countries to launch joint economic projects with the Palestinians unless the PA says it will not cooperate with the ICC, as first reported by KAN, the official said: “For them to suppose that they can go to the ICC and it will be business as usual from Israel is a very questionable proposition.”
The remarks came a day after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confiscated PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki’s VIP border crossing pass, upon his return from a meeting at the ICC in The Hague. Malki retains his rights as a resident of the PA, but will no longer have any special privileges that had been granted to him as a top official.
“No one has limited his freedom of movement,” the official said, “but he is using the extra privileges he received from Israel to seek to prevent the freedom of movement from Israelis as we travel abroad. Did he really expect us just to sit on our hands?”
Sources in the Foreign and Defense ministries said the move to confiscate Malki’s VIP status was not coordinated with them. The Shin Bet, which is under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council has reportedly made recommendations opposite to sanctioning Palestinian officials and blocking projects to further cooperation with the PA.
One of the NSC’s three major recommendations is to “send a message to the world that there is an opportunity to renew negotiations with the Palestinians,” Channel 12 reported.
The others are to behave cautiously when it comes to construction in Judea and Samaria, and the third is not to evacuate the illegal Bedouin encampment at Khan al-Ahmar, on West Bank land controlled by Israel.
Earlier this month, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she is opening a war crimes investigation against Israel and Hamas. The probe is expected to include 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, the riots at the Gaza border in 2018, the settlement enterprise and Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. Among the senior officials who could be vulnerable to war crimes suits are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was IDF chief of staff in 2014, and others.
The Palestinian Authority, which the ICC recognizes as a member state, initiated Bensouda’s preliminary inquiry that led to the official investigation.