JPost PA to halt ICC plans against Israel as peace gesture
JPost Fri, May 3, 2013
The Jerusalem Post
PA to halt ICC plans against Israel as peace gesture
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Palestinian Authority FM Malki promises US that PA will stop attempts to join UN agencies to give chance to peace process.
The Palestinian Authority has pledged to the US that it would freeze its efforts to join United Nations agencies or turn to the International Criminal Court, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki announced on Wednesday.
Malki said that the promise was made to US Secretary of State John Kerry as a “gesture” on the part of the Palestinians “and in order to prove our true intentions to give a bigger chance to the peace process.”
Malki, who was among an Arab League ministerial delegation that met with Kerry in Washington earlier this week, revealed that the PA leadership had also made a similar promise to US President Barack Obama when he visited Ramallah in March.
Malki said that the PA decision was aimed at “proving our good intentions and belief in making relentless efforts to achieve peace with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution.”
The decision was also made in appreciation of “sincere US efforts to achieve peace,” he added.
Malki admitted that the PA leadership did not receive anything in return for its decision to suspend efforts to turn to the ICC or join UN agencies.
The Palestinian daily Al- Quds quoted Malki as warning that the PA would go to the UN and to the ICC if the Israeli government proceeded with plans to build in the area known as E1 in Ma’aleh Adumim.
Malki also discussed the apparent change in policy of the Arab League, which in a meeting in Washington this week announced its acceptance – in principle – of minor land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the framework of a peace agreement.
The PA foreign minister emphasized that any modifications to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative – including the land swap idea or recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people – did not come at the behest of the US secretary of state.
Malki said that he and his Arab colleagues discussed with Kerry “ways that could make Israel get interested in the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Al-Quds quoted informed sources in Washington as saying that the US administration was preparing to convene a summit that would bring together leaders of Israel, the PA, Jordan and the US.
Meanwhile, Hamas and other Palestinian groups expressed their opposition to the land swap proposal, saying that the Arab League did not have a mandate to make such concessions to Israel.
“Hamas will never support such an idea,” said Hamas spokesman Salah Bardaweel. “We reject the latest Arab proposal and the principle of land swap.”
Another Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk, said that no Arab or Muslim was entitled to “give up one inch of the land of Palestine,” adding that any the talk about “softening” the Arab Peace Initiative so that it would include land swaps was a “dangerous matter.”
Earlier, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine – two radical groups that are opposed to the peace process with Israel – also rejected the land trade idea.
Some members of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction have also come out against the idea.
One of them, legislator Najat Abu Baker, condemned the idea as “an act of treason against the Palestinian cause.”
Abu Baker said that the Arab countries were just trying to give Israel control over more land in the West Bank. She called on the Arabs to rise against their governments and support the Palestinians.