Palestinians say they will try to join ICC after failed UN vote

On Tuesday the U.N. voted against a call for the Israeli occupation to end within three years

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian leaders will meet Wednesday to plan their next steps after the U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution to end Israel’s occupation and could set a date for applying to join the International Criminal Court, Palestinian officials said.

The U.N. vote Tuesday against the Palestinian bid, which called for the Israeli occupation to end within three years, was a blow to an Arab campaign for international action to bring about an independent Palestinian state.

The Palestinians long have vowed to join the International Criminal Court to press charges against Israel for alleged war crimes, though their membership could expose the Palestinians to similar accusations.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said officials would hold a “very serious meeting” Wednesday and could set a date for applying for membership to the court and other international agencies.

“There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown,” Erekat said. “We are going to meet and make decisions.”

Frustrated by the moribund peace process, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has pursued a more confrontational approach toward Israel and the U.S. by seeking broader international recognition for a Palestinian state. In 2012, the U.N. accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state. The Palestinians’ next step was the U.N. bid to set a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, and Australia voted against Tuesday’s U.N. resolution. The U.S. has called for negotiations rather than an imposed timetable.

“I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to the U.S. and Australia,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. He said he also received assurances from the Rwandan and Nigerian presidents that they would not support the resolution.

“They stood by their words and this is what tipped the scales,” Netanyahu said.

France and Luxembourg were among countries that voted in favour of the U.N. resolution, reflecting growing impatience, especially in Europe, over the lack of progress in more than two decades of on-again off-again peace talks.

Also Wednesday, two masked assailants threw a firebomb into a Palestinian home in a suspected Israeli attack in the southern West Bank village of Khirbet al-Karmil, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. The attack caused no casualties and the word “revenge” in Hebrew was found scrawled nearby, she said.

The attack comes after a firebomb attack last week on a car belonging to Jewish settlers in the West Bank. A young Israeli girl suffered serious burns and her father was lightly wounded in the attack. Israel says it arrested Palestinians who confessed to throwing the firebomb.

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