The Palestinian Authority renunciation of all agreements with Israel has elicited a pointed query from the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking the PA to clarify if their decision includes the Oslo Accords.
A three-judge panel of the ICC — tasked with ruling on whether the court has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into alleged war crimes committed on Palestinian territories — gave Ramallah until June 10 to reply.
It was as yet unclear what the implications would be if the Palestinians answered in the affirmative, that they regard Oslo as no longer binding.
Observers at the court were quoted by The Times of Israel on Wednesday as saying that the query poses a dilemma for the PA: If Ramallah insists that the 1993 accords are now defunct, it could undermine its claims to sovereignty as the “state of Palestine,” as it was Oslo that granted it a first measure of autonomy in the region. Renouncing Oslo could be seen as a surrender of that sovereignty, and with it any right to bring a case in the ICC.
If, on the other hand, the Palestinians answer that their declaration cutting ties with Israel somehow did not affect the structure of Oslo, they will have a hard to explaining what they did mean.
Israel has argued that under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have no state and therefore no standing to bring any claims at the ICC.
But ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recently brushed that argument aside, recommending a criminal probe of Israel, on the grounds that “state practice demonstrates that Oslo provisions derogating from the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination do not apply.”
Accordingly, it shouldn’t matter to the court whether Oslo still applies or not. However, the fact that the judges are asking the question indicates that they are not so sure of that.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has declined to comment in the meantime.