On October 3rd, the US exited an amendment to the Vienna Convention focused on dispute resolution following Palestinian decision to sue Washington in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The US also pulled out of another treaty, due to the Hague-based tribunal’s ruling in favor of Iran.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton condemned the UN tribunal as “politicized and ineffective,” while announcing that the US would review all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the ICJ.
“This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine, naming the United States as the defendant, challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
After being asked why the US did not recognize Palestine as being a state, he said that it “does not meet the international law test of statehood.”
The decision follows the Palestinian’s case challenging Washington’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Palestinians argued that the U.S. government’s placement of its embassy in Jerusalem violated an international treaty and that it should be moved. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki defended the suit, saying Palestine would “defend our rights and our people without hesitation, rejecting all forms of political and financial extortion.”
Following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there, the Palestinians cut off all diplomatic dialogue with the US, refusing to take part in any peace talks with Israel, in which the US under Trump is involved. Recently, the US shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization’s embassy in Washington and expelled its diplomats and their families.
On September 26th, following the United Nations General Assembly, Trump, for the first time, expressed his support for the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians, however, criticized and refused his comments.
Earlier on the same day, the ICJ ruled in favor of Tehran, ordering the US to ensure that sanctions on Iran, a second batch of which is due next month, do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.
Tehran argued that the US sanctions imposed following the May 8th withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal violated their 1955 Treaty of Amity. Washington responded by pulling out of the treaty.
Bolton said that due to “Iran’s abuse of the ICJ” the US would also withdraw from the “optional protocol” of the Vienna convention.
“We will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the United States to purported binding jurisdiction, dispute resolution in the International Court of Justice,” Bolton said. „The United States will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us.”
Regarding the ICJ decision, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US should have withdrawn from the Treaty of Amity decades ago and that the tribunal had no jurisdiction of sanctions that were essential to US security interests.
“Today marked a useful point, with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ, this marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said.
Regarding the decision to exit the amendment, Pompeo had the following to say:
“This really has less to do with Iran and the Palestinians than with the continued consistent policy of the United States to reject the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, which we think is politicized and ineffective,” Bolton said.
“I’d like to stress,” he added, “the United States remains a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.”
In almost two years of presidency, Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from a nuclear agreement between six powers and Iran, pulled out of a global climate accord, left the UN cultural agency, the UN Human Rights Council and threatened NATO military allies that the United States would “go its own way” if members did not spend more on defense.