Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says he will continue contacts with the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite all the obstacles made by Israeli authorities.
Israeli authorities on Sunday confiscated the minister's VIP border pass as he was returning to the occupied West Bank from a meeting at the ICC.
Ahmed al-Deek, an official at Maliki's office, said the move by Israeli officials was linked to Maliki's meeting with ICC’s lead prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, at her office in The Hague on Thursday.
The Palestinian official said Israeli officers detained and questioned Maliki's aides for 90 minutes at the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.
On Monday, Maliki told the the Arabic-language Voice of Palestine radio station that Israeli authorities informed the foreign ministry delegation during the interrogation that dealing with the ICC is a red line, and threatened to impose sanctions against them if they proceeded and coordinated with the court.
He also said the meeting with Bensouda stressed the need to accelerate the opening of the investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people and to make sure of a smooth transfer of the files in the transitional period for the new Prosecutor, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.
Bensouda has announced that she would formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories. Although her decision has been hailed by the Palestinian Authority, Israel has denounced it.
Bensouda is going to end her nine-year tenure at the ICC in June as British lawyer Karim Khan, elected as the new Prosecutor, is going to take over her post.
In response to Israel’s revocation of his VIP card, Maliki said his border pass had expired five years ago and it had not been renewed, adding that it is used to represent the State of Palestine during official overseas travels.
Israel's Walla news website, citing unnamed Israeli officials, reported that Maliki's ICC visit was the main reason for the revocation of his VIP card.
The VIP border pass enables dozens of senior Palestinian officials to move freely through border crossings that are controlled by Israeli forces.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Malki revealed that the United Nations Security Council is going to discuss the Palestinian situation in its meeting on Thursday during which the Palestine delegation will demand the implementation of Resolution 2334, which calls for a halt to all settlement expansion in the occupied territories.
He also noted that meetings will be held with Arab ambassadors in the United States to ask them to pressure the United Nations and the Security Council to convene an international peace conference and condemn Israel’s crimes.