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Tuesday October 4th, 2022 10:11AM

Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel

By The Associated Press
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.<br /> <br /> The move by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas set the stage for a diplomatic showdown with the United States and drew an angry response from Israel.<br /> <br /> "The one who needs to fear the International Criminal Court in the Hague is the Palestinian Authority, which has a unity government with Hamas, a terror organization like (the Islamic State group) which commits war crimes," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Netanyahu called Israel's soldiers "the most moral army in the world" and said the country would take unspecified "retaliatory steps."<br /> <br /> U.S. State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said America strongly opposed the move and warned it would be "counter-productive and do nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state."<br /> <br /> "It will badly damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace," Vasquez said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Abbas has been under heavy domestic pressure to take action against Israel following months of tensions fueled by the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks, a 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, a spate of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets and Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to a key Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. Tuesday's defeat in the U.N. Security Council further raised pressure on Abbas to act.<br /> <br /> "We want to complain. There's aggression against us, against our land. The Security Council disappointed us," Abbas said as he gathered a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
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