January 5, 2015 | Quoted by Luke Baker - Reuters

Abbas Rolls Statehood Dice With International Criminal Court Move

For Abbas, who has been in power since 2005 and turns 80 in March, a decade is a long time, and in any case the expectation was always that an independent state would happen before then.

As a result, joining the ICC looks designed more to rattle Israel, show the United States and others that the Palestinians will not wait forever, and to use whatever legal means available to achieve the long-desired political outcome.

It also amounts to Abbas trying to show that he is still relevant as his popularity wanes and support for Hamas rises, said Grant Rumley, an expert in Palestinian politics at the Foundation for Defense of Deomocracies in New York.

“Abbas understands that if he isn't swimming, he's sinking,” said Rumley, calling ICC membership the next-best-thing after the UN statehood bid to show Palestinians there is movement.

“The question is whether the ICC works better as a threat against Israel, and whether they have a plan once they're members. I think 'yes' to the former, and 'probably not' to the latter.”

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