Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki today warned that if the Israeli government goes through with plans to build a new settlement inside the E-1 territory of the occupied West Bank, they intended to take the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision,” insisted Malki. The E-1 effective links southern and northern Palestinian cities in the West Bank, and the settlement, along with the planned wall move, would leave only one roundabout “Arab only” road, with an Israeli military checkpoint, keeping a potential Palestinian state “contiguous.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to build in E-1 in the lead-up to yesterday’s election, but with the vote not going his way and the next coalition liable to include moderates, it is unclear if the hawkish settlement construction that has led to international condemnation is going to force a re-think.
The Palestinian Authority’s upgrade to a “non-member state” at the UN General Assembly affords it a more reasonable opportunity to approach the ICC about Israeli moves, but whether the courts will actually do anything about the settlements, especially with the US likely to loudly oppose any ruling that offends Israel, remains to be seen.