Israel Revokes PA Foreign Minister’s VIP CardEdit
Jerusalem, 22 March, 2021 (TPS) -- Israel has revoked the VIP card from Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad Malki after he returned to Ramallah from a meeting with Fatuous Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
The VIP card enables its holder to move freely between the PA and Israel and abroad.
Israeli authorities also reportedly canceled the VIP cards for two other PA foreign ministry officials who were traveling with Malki.
Malki was in The Hague to promote the ICC’s war crimes probe against Israel.
“The occupation authorities canceled the minister’s border pass coordination and withdrew his VIP card after he went to the ICC,” head of the foreign minister’s office, Ahmad al-Deek, told the PA’s official WAFA news agency on Sunday.
He said the PA “will initiate contacts with the international community” about the Israeli measures against Malki.
Other senior PA officials may face similar penalties.
In related news, Israel’s KAN broadcaster reported Monday that following the PA’s cooperation with the investigation against Israel in The Hague, Israel has made it clear that it will reject any economic projects between Israel and the PA.
A number of countries have reportedly approached Israel in recent weeks with the objective of initiating economic cooperation or projects between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel has said that until the PA declares that it will not cooperate with the tribunal, no such cooperation will occur.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the TASS news agency while in Moscow last week that “I do not know how familiar you are with Israeli society. Almost every family in the country has a relative who served in the army. And if anyone thinks we will agree with the decision to arrest our soldiers, it is a misconception.”
Israel has not joined the ICC and maintains that the ICC lacks any jurisdiction on the matter of war crimes allegedly committed by Israel since no sovereign Palestinian state exists nor does any territory belonging to such an entity.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the decision is “absurd” and is “undiluted anti-Semitism and the height of hypocrisy.”
“Without any jurisdiction, it decided that our brave soldiers, who take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties against the worst terrorists in the world who deliberately target civilians, it’s our soldiers who are war criminals,” he stated.