ANKARA/RAMALLAH  - Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday that Palestine could pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court if it pushes ahead with plans to build thousands of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem.

Abbas told reporters in Ankara that such a move was unlikely and was only one of several options that would be considered. “If Israel continues with this (settlement plan), we will respond using all methods, obviously peaceful, and including the court,” he said at a press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Abbas was responding to a question about whether Palestine, which acquired a non-member observer state status at the United Nations last month, would use its newly granted access at the ICC to pursue the Jewish state.

Israel criticised the historic UN vote as an obstacle to efforts to reach a peace accord, and the next day revealed plans to build 3,000 new homes.

Abbas said plans to expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their state, would be a “red line” not to be crossed. Gul also “strongly condemned” the proposed Israeli settlements, which have already been swamped by international criticism, and urged Israel not to “play with fire.”

Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the West Bank offices of three Palestinian non-government groups overnight, confiscating computers and other material, one of them said. “At 3:00 am this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF),” the group said on its website. “Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office,” the group added, saying desks and “ransacked filing cabinets” were left scattered after the raid.

“At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated,” it said, adding the raid was the first time the group’s Ramallah offices had been targeted by Israeli forces since 2002.

Addameer said the military also ransacked the Ramallah offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Palestinian NGO Network.

An army spokeswoman told AFP that the groups were linked to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Israel considers a terrorist organisation.

“Soldiers searched several offices in Ramallah which were affiliated with the Popular Front organisation,” she said.

“We don’t know that they were Popular Front offices, but they were affiliated with a terror organisation,” she said when asked to elaborate.

Last month the PFLP’s armed wing claimed an anti-tank missile attack on an Israeli army jeep patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip, wounding four soldiers.

It has also said it repeatedly fired rockets into southern Israel.

Addameer (Arabic for conscience) is a prominent Palestinian NGO campaigning for rights of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The group condemned the attack saying it “sees it as an attempt to cripple solidarity with the prisoners movement.”

Palestinian government spokeswoman Nour Odeh said the raid was part of an Israeli policy of “pursuing human rights activists and defenders of the law who expose... systematic and continued Israeli violations.”

Although the West Bank city of Ramallah nominally falls under full Palestinian administrative and security control, Israeli forces regularly carry out raids in the city and its surroundings.