Palestinian negotiator and Fatah leader Mohamed Shtayyeh said that Tuesday's decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to recognize Palestine as an observer state would pave the way for the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s pursuit of an internationally-recognized Palestinian state.
"We are taking a step-by-step approach towards the [PA's] plan to internationalize the Palestinian cause," Shtayyeh, who is also a leading member of the PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, told The Anadolu Agency.
The 122-member ICC, based in The Hague, has upgraded Palestine from an "observer entity" to an "observer state."
The move advances Palestine's position towards a full membership at the court, which would allow the Palestinian Authority to sue Israel for war crimes and other violations committed in the occupied territories.
According to Shtayyeh, the upgrade would also have a "positive impact" on a December 18 vote by the European Parliament to recognize a State of Palestine.
"The Palestinian leadership is pursuing foreign parliaments, governments as well as international organizations in order to recognize the state of Palestine so we could obtain our rights," he said.
He went on to assert that the PA "insists" on submitting a proposed draft resolution before the UN's Security Council that – if approved – would bind Israel to a two-year deadline for the withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories.
The PA has yet to submit the draft resolution. However, it has threatened to ratify the ICC's founding Rome Statute in the event that the Security Council votes down the draft resolution.
The ICC looks into accusations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on the territories of its member states.
The court is also mandated to handle cases submitted by the UN Security Council.
Several Palestinian factions have urged Abbas to file for full ICC membership in order to bring Israel to the international court following a devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip this summer.
The offensive, launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire form the blockaded coastal enclave, left more than 2,160 Palestinians – mostly civilians – dead and some 11,000 injured as well as thousands of homes destroyed.
At least 73 Israelis – 68 soldiers and five civilians – were also killed during the offensive, which finally ended on August 26 with a cease-fire deal reached in Cairo after 51 days of bombardments.
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