U.S. says ICC ‘dead’ as it moves to ‘protect’ Israel

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It was no coincidence that this declaration of war on the war crimes tribunal was made the same day as a State Department announcement that the US was closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization's office in Washington.

A draft speech that U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is scheduled to give before the conservative Federalist Society in Washington takes a hard stance against the court.

The United States has made a decision to close the Palestinian mission in Washington in the latest move against them by President Donald Trump, a Palestinian official said on Monday, denouncing it as a "dangerous escalation".

The United States will withdraw all support from the International Criminal Court, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced Monday, condemning the body as an "assault" on the U.S. Constitution and American sovereignty.

The United States will consider prohibiting judges and prosecutors from with the court in The Hague from entering the United States, imposing sanctions on any funds they have in the USA financial system, and prosecuting them in US courts, it says.

Bolton said on Monday that the U.S. will impose sanctions on court officials who attempt to investigate either the United States or Israel. Any countries supporting the investigation and cooperating with the ICC will be subject to secondary sanctions, Bolton warned.

The White House reportedly mulled the shutting down of the PLO mission in Washington since last November, unless the Palestinian leadership enters serious peace talks with Israel.

The International Criminal Court was created to adjudicate international war crimes and acts of terrorism. "As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the Administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point".

In November previous year, then USA secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, cited a provision in a U.S. law that meant the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the global criminal court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. It also contends that the PLO is refusing to engage with the US government on peace efforts.

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"We will not cooperate with the ICC". "We will provide no assistance to the ICC".

The Clinton administration signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but had serious concerns about the scope of the court's jurisdiction and never sought ratification by the Senate, where there was broad bipartisan opposition to what lawmakers saw as a threat to USA sovereignty.

Erekat-who was notified of the forced closure ahead of the public announcement-told the Washington Post the move will not deter ICC probes, and that within 48 hours, Palestinians will submit a new complaint about the Israeli Supreme Court's decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in East Jerusalem.

Those cuts came after the Trump administration announced it was cutting more than $200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians and spend the money for "high priority projects elsewhere".

"We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to United States threats and bullying", Erekat said in a statement.

The Palestine Liberation Organization office served as an embassy in Washington, D.C., for Palestinians.

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 USA aid to Palestinians and recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

"The United States continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward", the statement adds.

It will be Bolton's first major address since joining the Trump White House. We will not join the ICC.