By KAREN GAYAL and PAUL WALSHYUKEM/Reuters Israel’s Palestinian President Abbas has announced that he will step down on March 29.
The announcement comes days after the International Criminal Court said it would not investigate a suspected war crime committed by Israeli soldiers during a 2006 raid on the Gaza Strip.
The ICC, a United Nations peacekeeping body, had accused Israel of committing war crimes in the capture and killing of six Palestinian boys in Gaza in 2006.
Israel denied the allegations.
The Israeli military has repeatedly denied the charges, and said the men had been killed by an explosion from a rocket fired from Gaza.
The two men killed in the raid were Mohammed al-Salhi and Rana al-Khazraj, both 17, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, 15.
They were kidnapped in the occupied West Bank in 2006 and died shortly afterwards.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli army would take legal action against anyone who had “taken part in any act of criminal activity” in Gaza, including any actions which might have been considered war crimes.
The Palestinians, who have a political rival in Abbas, have also been demanding that Israel end its blockade of Gaza.
Abbas’s office said he would hand over to a commission formed to investigate the conflict.
“The Palestinian Authority is deeply disturbed by the fact that the Israeli government is dragging its feet to launch an investigation into its actions in Gaza,” it said in a statement.
“A Palestinian investigation has not been completed in its entirety and there are still unresolved questions about the role of Israel in the Gaza war.”
“The investigation will have to examine the actions of the Israeli authorities in Gaza.
It will be the responsibility of the commission to determine the facts of the war crime.”
Abbas said that after the war, he had decided to resign and he would step down “in order to bring the peace process to a conclusion and to make the right decision for the Palestinian people”.
The Palestinian president had said in his resignation letter that “the current situation and the factionalism in the Israeli leadership have led to a political situation in which there is a threat to the peace agreement and a threat of a unilateral declaration of independence”.
The Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel and the US of committing the crimes.
In May, the US said it was reviewing its cooperation with Israel, with the US president expressing concern about the situation.