Israel threatens to impose sanctions on PA over ICC probe

Middle East Monitor  /  March 23, 2021

Israeli authorities have threatened to impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s probes into Israeli war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories, Arab48 reported yesterday.

The sanctions would affect economic programmes funded by international donors, the news site said.

An Israeli radio station reported that occupation authorities are planning to strip more PA officials of their VIP status, limiting their ability to travel.

On Sunday, Israeli occupation forces stripped PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki of his VIP status upon his return to Ramallah from The Hague through the Israeli-Jordanian border crossing.

Israeli army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kohavi, criticised the ICC’s investigation, saying prosecutor Fatou Bansouda had crossed redlines, claiming that this decision is “dangerous from a moral view”.

He claimed that Bansouda is not aware of the complications of modern wars and lacks the ability to explain the law in relation to wars, insisting that this “harms global values.”

The Israeli military official said that opening an investigation under these circumstances “will not deter us” as such an investigation “will be separate from the complications of modern wars”.

On 3 March, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the initiation to open an official investigation into possible war crimes by Israel committed in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip.

The decision was welcomed by the PA, but both Israel and the US strongly condemned the move.