Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

John Bolton to take tough stance against ICC

John Bolton to take tough stance against ICC

He said the USA was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.

The department says that the PLO "has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel". Palestinian Authority officials have said they plan on doing just that in the coming weeks.

The decision follows an extended period of estrangement between the Palestinian Authority government on the West Bank and the administration, which has already canceled most US aid to Palestinians and recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the United States government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in protests that followed the move, and Palestinians have since rejected the a peace broker. However, no United States peace plans have yet to be put forward even as Trump has promised an "ultimate deal", a proposal the administration says is being led by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior aide.

He also reiterated calls for the ICC to probe "Israeli crimes" and vowed the Palestinians would not "succumb to U.S. threats and bullying".

In a news release, senior Palestinian diplomat Dr. Saeb Erekat called this move "dangerous escalation" that "shows that the willing to disband the global system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region".

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat called the move a "dangerous escalation" that "shows that the USA is willing to disband the worldwide system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region".

But the Palestinians have accused the Trump administration of being one-sided in its approach. Israel and the Trump administration, have repeatedly demanded that those payments from a so-called "martyrs' fund" be halted because they encourage terrorism. According to the Journal, Bolton will claim the Palestinians aren't sufficiently committed to negotiating a long-term peace agreement with Israel.

Under long-standing US law, permission for the PLO to maintain its mission in Washington must be renewed every six months. Former President Bill Clinton waived that law in 1994, allowing the office to open with a six-month renewal period signed off by the sitting US President.

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The PLO office in Washington has always been a source of tension.

The Trump administration responded by threatening to close the PLO office in D.C. Last September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials.

The goal of the court is to bring perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide to justice.

This follows moves by President Donald Trump to end funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees, slash US aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza and cut funding to hospitals in Jerusalem that serve Palestinians.

Observers said the decision would fail to bring the Palestinians to negotiate with Mr Trump and his advisers, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.

"It's a much more real policy matter now because of the potential liability in Afghanistan", a senior Trump administration official tells The Washington Post.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, August 9, 2017.

The White House will hold a press briefing Monday afternoon with press secretary Sarah Sanders. However, such a deal is unlikely given Palestinian mistrust of his administration. Any countries supporting the investigation and cooperating with the ICC will be subject to secondary sanctions, Bolton warned. The war crimes court launched a preliminary probe in 2015 into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the wake of the 2014 Gaza war, in which the Israeli military killed more than 2,200 Palestinians. The first prosecutor attempted to shield a government official from prosecution, helped a businessman linked to violations in Libya, and gave confidential court documents to actress Angelina Jolie, who holds an honorary United Nations human-rights post.

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