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Obama reassures Israel on Iran talks, Palestinian court bid

January 13, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday he opposes the Palestinians’ move to join the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.

Obama spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House says Obama told Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority isn’t yet a state and isn’t eligible to join the court. Obama says the Palestinians’ application to the court isn’t constructive and undermines trust with Israel.

The U.S. is reviewing its aid package to the Palestinians because of their bid to join the court.

Palestine was accepted as an observer state by the 122 countries that are members of the International Criminal Court in December. Its ratification of the Rome Statute that established the ICC in late December has been accepted at the United Nations, and the state of Palestine will become the 123rd member of the international war crimes tribunal on April 1. The United States is not a member of the ICC, so its views on Palestinian statehood have no bearing on the court.

The White House says Obama also told Netanyahu the U.S. is working toward a nuclear deal that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu has repeatedly warned such a deal could undercut Israel’s security.

The nuclear talks resume this week in Switzerland.

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