The Palestinians are facing “intense pressure” not to take Israel to the International Criminal Court should they win their bid for upgraded status in the UN.
A Palestinian official revealed the pressure they are under by countries like the UK to guarantee they will not sue Israel for war crimes, reports Yahoo! News.
The Palestinian bid for upgraded status as a non-member state will go before the UN General Assembly tomorrow and is expected to win by a wide majority, despite the lack of backing from countries like Britain, Israel, and the US.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, stated:
“We have not succumbed to pressure, we did not give any commitment. I can assure that the text has been tabled, it will not be modified.”
Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague stated on Wednesday that the UK would not vote for the Palestinians’ upgraded UN status unless the group guaranteed it would not take Israel to the ICC. Hague stated, “In the absence of these assurances the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote.”
The Associated Free Press notes that the request, if granted, will give the Palestinians access to the ICC, as well as the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Despite this, Ashrawi stated there are no immediate plans to go to the ICC.
In response to Israel’s fear that the Palestinians will use their new status to take Israel to court, Ashrawi stated:
“It has no reason to fear the ICC and the ICJ (International Court of Justice) if it is not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. If it is, well, certainly people who have committed crimes should be worried.”
Israel opposes the Palestinians’ bid for upgraded UN status, saying that a Palestinian state can only be the result of bilateral negotions between the two, instead of a vote by the international body.