Skip to main content

PA shows contempt for US as it takes credit for ICC decision

Itamar Marcus and Ephraim D. Tepler  |

Officials on PA TV:

  • “The International Criminal Court’s decision…is an achievement for the Palestinian leadership, for the PLO, and for the PA”

  • “The measure taken to petition the international bodies...being taken by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority led by our brother, President Mahmoud Abbas, are bearing fruit and are very important”

  • The ICC decision “is a victory for humanity… The victory for humanity came from Palestine”

The PA is gloating after the decision by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor to request arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, bragging that Mahmoud Abbas piloted the achievement. Ironically, the PA’s admission that it was involved in promoting the decision should come with a heavy price, since petitioning the ICC makes the PA ineligible to receive anything from the US Economic Support Fund under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which states:

“None of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’ in this Act may be made available for assistance for the Palestinian Authority, if after the date of enactment of this Act … (1) the Palestinians obtain the same standing as a United Nations (U.N.) member state or full membership in the U.N. or any specialized U.N. agency outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians; or (2) the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

Various PA officials credited themselves and Mahmoud Abbas in particular with engineering the ICC chief prosecutor’s decision:

Click to play

Fatah Jenin Branch member Nasri Hamamreh: “The political and diplomatic efforts, which we see as part of the political and diplomatic conflict with the occupation (i.e., Israel), reached their height upon the achievement of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision. We as the Palestinian people view this as an achievement that can be added to a series of accumulated achievements... This is an achievement for the Palestinian leadership, for the PLO, and for the PA—the body that represents our people. It is an achievement for the wise leader of the Palestinian people [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] who thinks of every way possible to bolster the Palestinian people’s resilience and to push the Israeli occupation into a corner, and to expose it, to expose its true ugly face to all the nations of the world.”

[Official PA TV, May 21, 2024]

Another Fatah official also credited Mahmoud Abbas with petitioning the ICC and hailed the ICC decision as a fruit of PA labor:

Click to play

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Tayseer Nasrallah: “The measure taken to petition the international bodies and the state of Palestine’s entry as a member among them must continue because this matter hurts the occupation (i.e., Israel) and we saw yesterday how angry and enraged the response was by [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu and all the war cabinet members. Therefore, these measures being taken by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority led by our brother, President Mahmoud Abbas, are bearing fruit and are very important.

[Official PA TV, May 21, 2024]

Attorney and international law expert from Jordan, Abdullah Salah Shannaq, posited on official PA TV that the decision actually originated with the Palestinians:

Click to play

We anticipated this matter. We made statements about it, and we bet on it. Praise Allah, it was realized. This victory is a victory for humanity… The victory for humanity came from Palestine. The victory for human rights, for international justice, and for international law came from Palestine. Kudos to the Palestinian leadership and to the PA… They [Israeli leaders] will be put on trial and we will see them on the television screens being prosecuted, Allah willing.”

[Official PA TV, May 20, 2024]

The PA is actually already ineligible to receive funding from the US under American law due to the Taylor Force Act, which the PA continually violates through its “Pay-for-Slay” program. The significance here is that the Palestinian Authority is happy to receive massive American political and economic assistance, as much as half a billion dollars annually per PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, yet it continues to show utter contempt for the wishes of the United States. The PA does so both in action—by initiating a successful move at the ICC in violation of American legislation—and in rhetoric, such as when Mahmoud Abbas’ top religious advisor calls America “the pharaoh of this period.”

Click to play

Abbas’ advisor and Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash:  The Pharaoh of this period, America thinks it can do anything without any draw back, and without any consequences... America used its veto for the third time, to prevent the cessation of the war against our people in the Gaza Strip... Just as He [Allah] punished the oppressors in the past, so He will punish the oppressors of this period. He will punish the Pharaohs of this age [America], the criminals of this age, sooner or later, by our hands or by His punishment. By our hands, or in pain from Him. The oppressor will not last.”

[Official PA TV Live, Feb. 23, 2024]

ICC decision faces bipartisan American condemnation

The ICC arrest warrant requests as spearheaded by the PA have been met with bipartisan condemnation. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), and John Thune (R-S.D.) together issued a statement on May 21, 2024 against the decision:

“These actions by the ICC jeopardize efforts to bring about sustainable peace in the Middle East.  It puts at risk sensitive negotiations to bring home hostages, including Americans, and surge humanitarian assistance.

The application for arrest warrants also draws a false equivalence between Israel with its longstanding commitment to the rule of law, and Hamas’ theocratic, autocratic, and unaccountable rule over Gaza. To state the obvious: Israel is a functioning democracy, while Hamas is a terrorist organization...”

House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) also said that the House may vote on sanctions against the International Criminal Court in response, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) has already introduced a bill that would sanction ICC officials who investigate U.S. citizens or allies.

Representative Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) said: "I completely reject the ICC prosecutor's announcement.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) tweeted:

“The decision to seek arrest warrants is not law but politics. It is not justice but rather retribution against Israel for the original sin of existing as a Jewish State and the subsequent sin of defending itself amid the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Today’s decision in effect makes it criminal for a state like Israel to defend itself against an enemy shrewd enough to embed itself in a civilian population, as Hamas has done to an extent never seen before in the history of warfare.”

President Biden also asserted:

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.  We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Funding of PA should be reconsidered

As reported by Palestinian Media Watch many times before, the Palestinian Authority has continually violated conditions for funding as stipulated in US law on a number of fronts throughout the years. Indeed, this ICC decision is the fruit of many years of PA efforts that should have earned it ineligibility for US funding just for this violation alone. If nothing else, the PA’s bragging as to how it has succeeded at the ICC so far should be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back that provides the impetus for a comprehensive review and reconsideration of how the United States chooses to fund the Palestinians.


RelatedView all ❯