People's Court?

The Palestinian Authority Joins the ICC

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki leaves the International Criminal Court, August 2014. Toussaint Kluiters / Courtesy Reuters

Today, Palestine accepts the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court—or, put another way, the ICC accepts that Palestine accepts its jurisdiction. This more awkward formulation is more accurate, since what matters is not Palestine’s quixotic quest to join The Hague Court, but the ICC’s acknowledgement that it can.

Palestinian claims to statehood are nothing new. What has changed is that Palestine is now seeking (and getting) membership in international organizations. But because Palestine still has so few qualities of a real state, this trend promises plenty of turmoil and trouble—for the ICC, for Israel, and for Palestine itself. And it is a reminder that in a world of states, statehood matters. For Palestinians, statehood is a delusion worth having and trouble worth making.


Palestine has acceded to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding charter, and issued a declaration accepting the court’s

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