In a gesture of despair and utter desperation, President Mahmud Abbas finally put pen to paper on the Rome Statute, after years of using it as a bargaining chip. Signing the statute brings Palestinian territory under the preview of the International Criminal Court, and opens it up to future investigation by it. The ICC is charged with trying instances of genocide and crimes against humanity, and remain the only international court that can charge individuals. There can be no greater testament to the failure of the world powers to broker a viable peace deal between the two states than this final throw of the dice by the Palestinian president. He is willing to have his government, his party Fatah, Hamas, and the people of Palestine face prosecution under ICC charges, as long as Israeli atrocities are tried too. For Palestine, this may be a harder path than envisioned. Israel, which has fought a long battle behind the scenes to avoid this outcome, has responded to these legal methods by Palestine by employing illegal punitive actions – in keeping with character. It has withheld the transfer of $127 million in tax revenue that it collects on Palestine’s behalf. Israel’s lackey in all things Palestine, the United States, has also decided to review the $440 million annual aid package to Palestine.

Despite official US claims that such a move by Palestine is “counterproductive” and “antagonistic”, there is little doubt that after decades of failed negotiations and dozens of failed bids for statehood, this is the only option available. By indicting Israeli forces under crimes against humanity, it can definitively build a narrative to show the world. In all probability, indictment is as far as the matter will go, the ICC has no police force and relies on member states to arrest and hand over the people indicted; a sphere where combined US-Israeli pressure will allow little progress. Once again, Palestine has to contend with making symbolic gains while suffering very real costs.