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ICC Seeks Clarification from PA: Are Oslo Accords Still Applicable?

The Hague-based International Criminal Court has given the Palestinian Authority until June 10 to decide whether the 1993 Oslo Accords – which created the PA as a springboard to statehood – remain in force. The court has been asked by the PA and others to try Israelis for war crimes allegedly carried out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it wishes to first determine whether it has jurisdiction over the matter, an issue that some question owing to the fact that there is as yet no country called Palestine. The query apparently stems from recent statements by PA President Mahmoud Abbas declaring all agreements between Israel and the Palestinians to be null and void due to plans by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank. Some analysts say that if Abbas also means Oslo, it could weaken the Palestinians’ claim that international agreements addressing statehood give them the right to membership in world bodies, and thus give those bodies some measure of jurisdiction over them. As such, Abbas’s statements could boomerang – unless he specifies to the court that the accords remain in place.