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When on Dec. 31, the Palestinian Authority took the unprecedented step of applying to join the International Criminal Court, Israel was quick to criticize the move as a provocation undermining any hope for peace.The Palestinian Authority asked to join the ICC for two reasons: to assert statehood (only states can be members of the ICC), and to use the court to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza.By joining the court, the Palestinian Authority has not only made it possible to prosecute Israeli crimes in Palestine; it has also opened the door to prosecution of crimes by Palestinians against Israelis or other Palestinians.Israel actually has little to fear from the ICC.Palestine's membership in the ICC is a significant step, but it is a small one when compared to the pressure the Palestinian Authority will face to improve its compliance with international law.Palestine is expected to join the ICC on April 1 .
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