RAMALLAH, Friday, December 20, 2019 (WAFA) - President Mahmoud Abbas today described the announcement by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it is going to open an investigation into Israeli crimes as a great day.
"This is a great day because we have achieved what we want, and from this day on, the ICC machine will start accepting the cases that we have previously presented," he said during the meeting of Fafah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah.
"I congratulate all of you on this decision," the president added. "This is a historic day, and now it is possible for any Palestinian harmed as a result of the occupation to file a lawsuit (before the ICC)," he said.
Following is an unofficial translation of the text of the president‘s speech:
"You know that in the year 2011, we decided to go for a membership of the United Nations. We went to the Security Council and there were very strong oppositions to us, because we should not join and become members of the United Nations. We got into a fierce war, with the United States in particular, which put tremendous pressure on us in order not to go. But we decided and insisted on taking this step to the end. We went to the Security Council and gave a speech, and we demanded to become full members of the United Nations. But we failed because of the American veto, and they thought that this matter was over and that we will not do it again to get full membership or observer status. Yet, after we failed to get full membership, we went to get an observer member.
"We were mocked by some, and they said what is the value of this membership, and why should we go and we don‘t need to go and what we are today was enough. We went to the General Assembly and we got an observer member in the UN by 138 votes recognizing Palestine as an observer member in the United Nations. This membership allows us to obtain membership of 520 international organizations, and this is what frightened the United States, because it does not want us to obtain membership of these organizations. The US decided that if we joined any one of these organizations and we got in, it will get out of it. You remember when we went to UNESCO and we made an application to join it, they threatened us not to join. But we said why shouldn‘t we go? They said it is better for you to continue in your efforts to obtain full membership in the United Nations. We told them that as long as we did not get it, then we will go for the observer status. They told us; if you become a member of this organization, then we are forced to leave it, and they did leave UNESCO. Then we went on our way to join a number of other organizations. Now we have more than 100 memberships in international organizations out of 520 organizations.
"The important thing is that we went for membership of the International Criminal Court, and frankly it was a strong blow because it is known that if join this organization then any Palestinian harmed by the Israelis can go to this court. In fact, we went in 2015 and we have achieved our goal of obtaining this membership. Since that date, we have been trying to get the Court to start the investigation. We submitted documents and claims and I said more than once that every Palestinian person can file a lawsuit.
"Today the decision was issued, after four years of hard work and follow-up, and providing everything necessary about the crimes of the occupation committed against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the court was following and studying the findings, laws and issues.
"This is a great day because we have achieved what we want, and from this day on, the ICC machine will start accepting the cases that we have previously presented.
"I congratulate all of you on this decision. This is a historic day, and now it is possible for any Palestinian harmed as a result of the occupation to file a lawsuit."