John Bolton threatens ICC with sanctions in virulent attack

Frederick Owens
September 11, 2018

Among other potential repercussions, Bolton threatened to pursue sanctions against ICC officials if the court moves forward with investigations into U.S. citizens.

The Trump administration had told the Palestinians last November that closure could be expected unless they agreed to sit to down with the Israelis.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli government officials. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem - which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed - as the capital of their future state. That led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to break off contact with US officials for what he called pro-Israel bias, and the opening of the new embassy was met with large Palestinian protests in which dozens were killed.

Trump has pledged to reach the "deal of the century" on Israeli-Palestinian peace but has declined to commit to a two-state solution, for years the focus of global diplomacy.

John Bolton on Monday, September 10, said the U.S. would use any available means to cushion its nationals from ICC terming it as an illegitimate institution.

While a long-term effect of the decision would tinge the worldwide commitment to a two-state solution, he said a risk of instability and violence was possible in the short-term.

According to a written statement released on Monday, Rudeineh said core issues of the conflict, including the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, "are more important than the relationship with the United States".

"Rather, they appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract "actionable intelligence" from detainees", the ICC said in its report at the time.

"Even if there is a two-state solution, it would collapse very quickly", Diab said.

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The PLO is a group in charge of the Palestinian people in the West Bank. The cutting of aid, however, was one that could have a knock-on effect leading to unrest.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, though Palestine was admitted as a state party in 2015. The White House has not said when the office will officially shutter. The penalty of such violation is closing down of the office in Washington.

"We lost the USA administration but we gained our national rights", said Zomlot, who was recalled back to Ramallah in the spring amid tensions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership. It does this through the Palestinian Authority, a governing body that it created. "If Palestinians agree to whatever is offered - which seems to be wholly inadequate, they will no longer be in leadership".

"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court", Reuters quoted Bolton as saying in the draft.

They cut off contact with the USA administration after Trump recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December.

Diab said dealing with the PLO as a pariah and terrorist organisation and not a representative of the people was resetting relations to a pre-Oslo period.

Nauert's statement criticized the PLO's leadership for what she said was a refusal to engage with the US government on peace efforts.

The administration had told the Palestinians a year ago that closure was a distinct possibility unless they agreed to sit to down with the Israelis. Former President Bill Clinton waived that law in 1994, allowing the office to open with a six-month renewal period signed off by the sitting US President.

The Palestinians have said they will not buckle to Mr Trump's pressure and will continue to push on with their bid for an ICC investigation against Israel.

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