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ICC Asks PA to Clarify Whether Oslo Accords Remain Valid

Judges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague have called on the Palestinian Authority to clarify if the landmark Oslo Accords with Israel remain in effect. It follows PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration earlier this month that all past agreements with Jerusalem were null and void. The judges, who are tasked with determining whether the ICC has jurisdiction to open a criminal probe into alleged Israeli war crimes, have given Ramallah until June 10 to respond. The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has opined that the ICC does have jurisdiction to launch an investigation, although her argument was largely premised on the 1993 interim agreement, which established the PA and granted it autonomy in areas Palestinians claim as part of a future state. Abbas’ decision came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s vow to press forward with annexing about 30% of the West Bank in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Netanyahu has repeatedly slammed the ICC and has made thwarting a potential war crimes probe one of his government’s main goals. Following a marathon meeting on Wednesday, the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization – the largest faction within the PA that considers itself the sole representative of the Palestinian people – rubber-stamped Abbas’ declaration and promised to “pursue Israeli officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crimes of settlement, annexation and assaults on Christian and Islamic religious sites.”