Hundreds of millions of dollars could be at risk for the Palestinians if they gain acceptance to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, and a similar fate could await any United Nations organization that accepts a “state of Palestine.” Two members of the US Congress have delivered an ultimatum of sorts if the Palestinians proceed with their plans to wage a legal war against Israel or obtain more UN recognition for their unrecognized state.
US Senator Lindsay Graham, in an interview with Yisrael Hayom, said that there is “a lot of support” in Congress to cut funding to any UN agency that allows the Palestinians to enter as a state, similar to what the US did with the UN cultural agency UNESCO. US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was even more clear.
In a statement condemning the Palestinian move to join the ICC and level war crimes charges against Israel, Ros-Lehtinen said, “Congress must do everything in its power to block funds to the PA [Palestinian Authority] and to any UN entity that recognizes a non-existent State of Palestine.”
Foreign Policy reported that the US gives the PA around $400 million per year, making it a potentially expensive decision for the Palestinians.
The US Congresswoman said the move to cut funding would be “to make it clear” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “that there will be consequences to his schemes at the United Nations and other international organizations like the International Criminal Court.”
Graham was not as direct, but Yisrael Hayom quoted him as saying there will be a lot of opposition from both main US political parties in Congress to any efforts by the Palestinians to drag Israeli soldiers before the ICC.
The Palestinian efforts to gain statehood acceptance to various UN agencies, including the ICC, come after a failed attempt to get the UN Security Council to impose a deadline on an Israeli withdrawal from territory claimed by the Palestinians—with or without a peace deal.
Ros-Lehtinen highlighted the lack of peace talks in the Palestinian approach as evidence that the Palestinian moves are not an effort to create peace, naming Abbas by his alternate name, Abu Mazen.
“The latest destructive actions by Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority reaffirms, once again, that Abu Mazen is not a real partner for peace,” said Lehtinen in the statement on her website. “By attempting to bring a flawed resolution to the UN Security Council and by signing the Rome Treaty [to join the ICC], Abu Mazen only reiterates that he is not willing to return to direct peace negotiations with Israel without pre-conditions.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 4, 2015)