JERUSALEM — Days after winning upgraded status at the United Nations, the Palestinians are threatening to join the world’s first permanent war crimes court and pursue charges against the Israelis.
Although the Palestinians say that any decision is still a long way off, the mere threat has unnerved Israel. But pressing a case may not be so simple and could potentially leave the Palestinians themselves vulnerable to prosecution.
Since winning recognition as a nonmember observer state in the United Nations General Assembly last week, the Palestinians believe they now qualify for membership in the International Criminal Court.
In opposing the Palestinian bid at the U.N., Israel repeatedly cited Palestinian threats to turn to the ICC to prosecute Israeli officials for a variety of alleged crimes, ranging from actions by the Israeli military to Israel’s construction of Jewish settlements on occupied land.
While Israel does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and believes its actions do not violate international law, officials are concerned legal action that could embarrass Israel.