After the breakdown in the peace talks with Israel. the Palestinians are moving forward with a plan to have the West Bank recognized as a state under occupation.
In the absence of negotiations, the Palestinians plan to proceed cautiously as they join more than 40 other treaties and agencies, culminating in an application to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which was established in 2002 to prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The court is seen by the Palestinians as a powerful tool because, experts say, Israel risks prosecution there for its policy of settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories Israel seized in the 1967 war and which, along with Gaza, the Palestinians claim for their state.
“Israel cannot maintain the status quo,” said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, in a recent interview. “I hope Netanyahu has a good legal team studying this,” he said of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, “so he won’t be surprised if we take further action to defend ourselves.”
Some Israelis are hoping the Palestinians will go to the International Criminal Courts, since it would allow ordinary Israelis to press claims against Palestinian officials.