The entrance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seen in The Hague March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

Palestine to drag US envoy before ICC

Bethlehem /PNN/

Palestinian Authority plans to file a complaint with the International Criminal (ICC) against US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for “jeopardizing peace and security in the Middle East” with his recent “racist” remarks.

Speaking in an interview with The New York Times, Friedman said that Israel “has the right” to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

“Under certain circumstances, I think that Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said in the interview published on Saturday.

Friedman’s remarks are an extension of the US administration’s policy, which is fully biased in favor of the occupation and its expansionist colonial policies,” the Palestinian foreign ninistry said.

Denouncing him as a settler, the ministry said, “We are studying whether his racist rhetoric is sufficient to file a complaint against him with the International Criminal Court for trying to impose his racist visions and threatening peace and security in the region, as well as exposing the Palestinian people to several dangers and conspiracies.”

Friedman’s statements sparked widespread condemnation from several Palestinian officials and groups.

Ibrahim Milhem, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, slammed Friedman and US President Donald Trump’s advisers, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, as “clowns and circus actors lacking political maturity.”

Trump’s ambassador “provides enough background in order for everyone not to attend the Manama meeting,” PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said. “Their vision is about annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law.”

The Hamas resistance movement also decried the remarks, calling on the Palestinian Authority to immediately halt security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Friedman’s remarks are “completely consistent with the views of the far-right in Israel and demonstrate the US administration’s disregard for all Arab positions.”

They “reflect the depth of American complicity in the aggression against the Palestinians,” he added.

Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad, condemned the US envoy as an “extremist settler carrying out the colonialist and settler policies of his bosses.”

Relations between the Palestinian Authority and the US took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s “capital.”

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. However, Israel insists on maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories.