Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

The Palestinian Authority quietly joins the International Criminal Court

In a low-key ceremony in The Hague on Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority formally joined the International Criminal Court. Joining the ICC allows the Palestinians the right to pursue war crimes charges and other legal actions against Israel, which isn't part of the ICC, but also opens Palestinian militants to prosecution by the international tribunal.

The PA has dropped early plans to file its own charges against Israel, but the Palestinians plan to support a preliminary investigation by the ICC's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, into allegations of war crimes by Israel in land recognized by the United Nations as belonging to the State of Palestine. That investigation will take time. "I don't want to disappoint our people," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Voice of Palestine radio on Wednesday, "but the ICC procedures are slow and long and might face lots of obstacles and challenges and might take years."