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Testimony

The Palestinian Authority’s International Criminal Court Gambit: A True Partner for Peace?

Testimony for House Committee on Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
4th February 2015

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, members of the Committee, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), thank you for inviting me to testify today.

After a decade of successful efforts to gain support from the international community for recognition of statehood, the Palestinians are now poised to leverage their gains and wage lawfare at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The goal for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been the same throughout this campaign: to force the Israelis to relinquish territory or other meaningful concessions, and to do so outside the scope of bilateral negotiations.

The dangers of this campaign cannot be understated. For one, these efforts are not likely to resolve the conflict peacefully. Rather, they will keep the embers of conflict glowing. More importantly, eschewing both the U.S. leadership and the bilateral diplomatic process reflects a troubling trend. While communication and cooperation still exists between Ramallah and Washington, it is clear that Abbas and his lieutenants no longer feel beholden to the United States, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance we provide every year. We must find ways of regaining our leverage in the West Bank, and to do so without undermining stability in the Middle East.

As I explain at the end of this testimony, Washington needs to construct a strategy to combat lawfare, both against America and its allies. We must also hold to account those responsible for this reckless initiative: Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).