Tel Aviv, 15 Rabiul Awwal 1436/6 January 2015 (MINA) – Israel has threatened to ask the US Congress to halt Washington’s funding to Palestinians if they initiate any action against Tel Aviv at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
An Israeli official, whose name was not mentioned in the reports, said Sunday that Israel would turn to the US pro-Israel Congress members to make sure of the enforcement of a law that stipulates banning funds to the Palestinians in case of any move against the Israelis at The Hague-based criminal court, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday.
The comments came after Palestinian officials formally submitted Palestine’s ICC membership documents to the United Nations, Press Tv quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The stop-gap funding bill passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December 2014 specifies that no State Department economic support funding may be given to the Palestinian Authority if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”
According to the daily, the US annual aid to the Palestinians amounts to some USD 400 million.
Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv would not allow its military forces to “be dragged” to the ICC, adding that the Palestinians have “chosen to take a path of confrontation with Israel, and we will not sit idly by.”
Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said Friday that the ICC membership would pave the way for Palestinian authorities to seek justice for the victims of the Israeli regime’s aggression.
Mansour also confirmed that the Palestinian envoy to The Hague had officially asked the ICC to launch an investigation into Israel’s war crimes during the regime’s 50-day military offensive on Gaza last summer. Over 2,100 people died and some 11,000 others were injured in the Israeli war.
Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the documents necessary for Palestine to join 20 international organizations, including the ICC.
Tel Aviv has blocked the transfer of taxes it collects on behalf of Palestinians in retaliation for their application to join the ICC and file war crimes charges against Israel. (T/P011/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)