Bolton To Set Out Tough U.S. Stance On International Criminal Court

US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, speaks to journalists on September 1 in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and, we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system".

Meanwhile, late last month the US announced it is permanently cutting funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or Unrwa, a primary source of Palestinian financial support for decades.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Bolton said at an event Monday hosted by the conservative Federalist Society. That was a victory for Israel and a blow to the Palestinians, who say it undermines their own claim to east Jerusalem as capital of a future Palestinian state. Palestinian Authority officials have said they plan on doing just that in the coming weeks. "Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes". Their leadership has already roundly rejected those moves, saying the US has lost its role as a peacemaker because of it.

The fate of the Georgetown offices has been in limbo for over a year, ever since the administration discovered it was congressionally obligated to close the diplomatic facility should Palestinian officials target Israel at the International Criminal Court.

Trump has pledged to reach the "deal of the century" on Israeli-Palestinian peace but has declined to commit to a two-state solution, for years the focus of global diplomacy. In particular, it says the ICC lacks jurisdiction because Israel is not a member of the court.

Bolton, who worked in the Bush administration at the time, was among the most vocal opponents to the U.S. supporting the court's establishment.

The Palestinian Authority vowed to reconsider its cooperation with Israel as it again accused the U.S. of taking sides in the stalled Middle East peace process.

Bolton's speech comes on the heels of a State Department announcement that the Trump administration will close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C. The decision marks the latest in a pressure campaign to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table as the Trump administration readies a much-anticipated peace proposal.

Last month, the U.S. cancelled more than $200m (£153m) in aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza. We will provide no assistance to the ICC.

The closure is part of a series of steps the USA has taken that have been blows to the Palestinians. "They are no longer partners in the peace process", Erekat said.

"The complaint stressed the importance of preventing Israel from demolishing and forcibly displacing the residents of Khan al-Ahmar", he said. European countries urged Israel this week to refrain from demolition.

The Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week, paving the way for the demolition.

Palestinian activists put up several trailers early Tuesday in protest.

Although the Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations, Trump's administration has been working to mediate a peace deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The PLO had harsh words following the closure of the Palestinian mission.

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.

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