According to the second-deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Hasan Khreisha, Fateh party member and defacto president of the country, Mahmoud Abbas, has blocked an attempt to push for the prosecution of Israel for war crimes in Gaza at the International Criminal Court (ICC).Mr. Khreisha told Ma’an that the Palestinian Authority’s decision to join the ICC and thus press charges against Israel for the recent 50-day assault on Gaza which killed over 2,100 residents, most of whom were civilians, was halted by Abbas in order to push forward a new peace talks bid.

See: Washington Threatens Sanctions Should PA Approach UN with Proposal to Dismantle Israeli Occupation for extensive background information on this matter.

‘President Abbas decided not to sue Israel at the ICC unless his new initiative fails to resume peace talks with Israel,’ Khreisha said, according to Ma’an News Agency, adding that the PA was waiting for United States officials to reply to a message from Abbas which requested the resumption of talks.

Israel and the United States have both tried to prevent the Palestinians from joining the ICC, fearing that Israel would be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes.

See also: Human Rights Watch: Israel Likely to Have Committed War Crimes in Gaza

Khreisha told Ma’an that, even though all major Palestinian parties had given president Abbas a document in which they voiced their support for Palestinian accession to the ICC, ‘so far, no practical steps have been taken in that direction.’

Over the past week, Abbas has accused Hamas of running a ‘shadow government’ and, thus, undermining the national unity government.

Hamas has roundly denied the allegation, according to Ma’an.