USA to Threaten Sanctions if ICC Investigates Afghan War Crimes Allegations

Frederick Owens
September 10, 2018

The Trump administration is reportedly set to announce the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, D.C., in a bid to pressure the Palestinian leadership to participate in Middle East peace efforts.

Shortly after the State Department announcement, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, launched a broadside against The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court", Bolton will say at an event hosted by the right-wing Federalist Society, according to a speech draft viewed by Reuters.

The U.S. plans to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in its latest show of support for the U.S-Israel relationship.

Reinforcing the worldwide perception of the "a bully and a hegemon" that will not tolerate attempts by the global community to hold it accountable for its deadly actions overseas, President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton is set to deliver a speech on Monday that will reportedly threaten International Criminal Court (ICC) officials with sanctions if they dare to move ahead with probes into us or Israeli war crimes.

The State Department said the US step - the latest in a series targeting the Palestinians - came after a review of the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization centered on the fact that no "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" are underway despite previous warnings.

If such an inquiry goes ahead, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the U.S. financial system and prosecute them in American courts.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Mr. Bolton said.

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"Such a reckless act confirms that the administration is blindly executing Israel's 'wish list, ' which starts with shutting down Palestinian diplomatic representation in the U.S.", he said in a statement.

The move comes after Palestinian officials urged the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials for "war crimes" throughout the region.

Palestinian leaders have condemned a decision by Donald Trump to shutter their diplomatic mission to Washington as part of a "cruel and spiteful" campaign they say represents collective punishment against Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the global court to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials for "their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people". Additionally, he warns in the text, the USA may seek bilateral agreements that would prohibit nations from surrendering Americans to the ICC. The State Department later, however, said it wanted the office to stay open after the PLO froze all communication with the U.S.

"Lowering the flag of Palestine in Washington DC means much more than a new slap by the Trump Administration against peace and justice", Erekat said. And we certainly will not join the ICC. The administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cut aid to Palestinians.

The Palestinians have refused to participate in peace talks following the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. We will let the ICC die on its own.

"We will sanction their funds in the U.S financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system".

The PLO has been calling on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into actions by Israel. But threatening companies that dare to assist an investigation?

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