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New Israeli legal campaign accuses Abbas of 'terrorism'

April 12, 2014 5:10 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2014 7:14 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Right-wing Israeli political parties have begun a campaign to sue president Abbas for "war crimes" at the International Criminal Court in response to the Palestinian Authority's recent decision to join international conventions and treaties.

The campaign comes amid a near breakdown in ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO, and seeks to file legal procedures against Abbas accusing him of supporting "terrorism" and aiding to terrorist organizations.

Beginning on Friday, Israeli newspapers and websites have published advertisements calling on Israeli lawyers to join the campaign led by the Israel Law Center to sue Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on charges of supporting terrorist organizations.

One of the prominent leaders of the campaign is chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett, who has been a vocal critic of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

An ad in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth features president Abbas behind bars with a phrase in Arabic reading, "We will terrorize him in The Hague."

Palestinian officials, however, have downplayed the move, pointing out that Israel cannot pursue legal action at the international court due to its own failure to sign the treaties.

Palestinian minister of justice Ali Muhanna told Ma'an that the Israeli government had "lost balance both politically and legally."

Their response, he said, reflects the degree of rage in Israel towards the PA for attempting to join international conventions.

Muhanna confirmed that Israel "cannot engage in any legal action at the ICC because Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."

"Such legal proceedings are submitted through the ICC's Attorney General or through the UN Security Council."

"Abbas' move isn't a war crime. But the ongoing Israeli settlement construction, confiscation of Palestinian money, killing and detention of children are war crimes," he added.

The campaign comes amid a growing crisis in peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Palestinian officials applied to join 15 international conventions last week after Israel failed to release a fourth batch of veteran prisoners as previously agreed upon.

The move angered Israeli authorities, who have since called for an end to coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the US after nearly three years of impasse.

Israel's government has announced the construction of thousands of settler housing units and its army has killed 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since the negotiations began.
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