Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

United States ups pressure on Palestinians, closing Washington mission

Trump administration to threaten ICC judges with sanctions, prosecution John Bolton to Threaten Sanctions if International Criminal Court Investigates U.S. - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Charlie Simmons | 13 September, 2018, 17:00

Palestinian officials on Monday vowed not to bend to what they called the Trump administrations "bullying tactics" after being informed that their office in Washington would be shut down.

The move comes after several financial measures the Trump administration has taken toward the Palestinians.

She also said the closure decision was consistent with us concerns about Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

United States national security adviser John Bolton told the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a conservative Washington-based organization, that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Americans or personnel from other countries that not ratified the 1998 Rome Statue that led to the formation of the International Criminal Court in 2002.

"If the court comes after us, Israel or other USA allies, we will not sit quietly", Bolton said.

In making such moves, Trump has sided with Israel on core issues in the conflict without publicly asking for any concessions in return.

The draft speech says the Trump administration "will fight back" if the International Criminal Court formally proceeds with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.

It's another strike at a half-century of US policy toward the region.

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The Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but had serious reservations about the scope of the court's jurisdiction and never submitted it for ratification to the Senate, where there was broad bipartisan opposition to what lawmakers saw as a threat to USA sovereignty. He also added that they would accredit their funds in United States financial system and will indict them in the USA criminal system.

"The (Palestinians') refusal to enter into negotiations with Israel and the unbridled attacks against Israel will not only not advance peace but will certainly not make things better for the Palestinians", he said. They say they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians seek for a viable state.

Closing the PLO mission in Washington nearly certainly will stiffen the Palestinians' opposition to any Trump peace plan now being worked on by Trump's Middle East point men, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

Palestinian leaders say the administration is blatantly biased in favor of Israel and is seeking to blackmail Ramallah into accepting the White House's moves.

Later, it announced it would not provide assistance funding any more for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

A week earlier, the administration slashed bilateral USA aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

While Jews around the world were celebrating the Jewish New Year on Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that it was ordering the closure of the Palestinian Liberation Organization mission in Washington, D.C.

UNRWA was founded after the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation to serve some 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were uprooted from their homes.

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