Forget the Knesset. I’ll See You at The Hague.

by NewsStand

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas holds no illusions regarding next week’s general election in Israel. He knows that in an election cycle preoccupied with the economy, a nuclear Iran, and a region in chaos, his cause — Palestinian statehood — is nowhere near the Israeli electorate’s radar. Even the candidates who would seem a likely partner in the peace process, such as Labor’s Isaac Herzog, skirt around the issue with evasions like “let’s see what happens.” But no matter who controls the Knesset after March 17, Abbas will still be in charge in Ramallah. And so he has taken every opportunity possible to increase his bargaining power — specifically by taking his cause into the international arena. On April 1, the Palestinians will become full members of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In Abbas’s eyes, there’s nothing that will change that. His pre-Israeli election maneuvers, then, are attempts to maximize this campaign regardless of who is the next prime minister. When Abbas ramps up talk of filing war-crimes charges against Israeli officials at the ICC, threatens to cut security ties with Israeli forces in the West Bank, or pushes for more international recognition, he’s stacking some cards in his favor in case Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins the Israeli premiership again. And when he praises Arab-Israeli parties for forming a united list for the first time — or, as some reports suggest, urges them to sign an agreement with an Israeli leftist party — he’s doubling down on the left beating Netanyahu. via Forget the Knesset. I’ll See You at The Hague. | Foreign Policy.