US turns to UN to hold off ICC case against Israel

The White House is about to turn to the UN to help force a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The development also reflects deepening pessimism over the prospect of negotiations delivering peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

After years of blocking efforts to pressure Israelis and Palestinians into accepting a lasting two-state solution, the United States is moving toward supporting a UN Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election Tuesday after the incumbent publicly abandoned his commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state — the basis of more than 20 years of US diplomatic efforts — and promised to continue the construction of settlements on occupied territory.

The prospect of direct negotiations appeared to evaporate with Netanyahu’s pre-election declaration that he would never allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

The comment completely reversed the Israeli leader’s previous support for an independent Palestine as part of a permanent peace deal between the two sides.

On Wednesday, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s top diplomat in the United States told Foreign Policy the Palestinians would move forward with plans to use the ICC to try to hold Israel accountable for alleged war crimes during last summer’s war in Gaza.

“The fact that we have a government in Israel publicly opposing a two-state solution just reinforces our position that this conflict must be handled by the international community,” Maen Rashid Areikat said.

The United States would actively seek guarantees from the international community to hold off on ICC activity in exchange for a Security Council resolution outlining international standards for a final peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.