ICC’s arrest warrant: Netanyahu’s anger, will the United States stand by?

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 7:56 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his anger over the request for an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In a video released by the Prime Minister’s Office, he termed it as an ‘unprecedented moral affront’. BBC news.

Netanyahu said, “Israel is waging a just war against Hamas.” Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization and they have carried out the worst attacks on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.’

Netanyahu referred to Karim Khan, the chief counsel of the ICC or the International Criminal Court, as “one of the biggest anti-Semites of the modern era”. He said, Karim Khan is behaving like the judges of Nazi Germany. The decision to seek arrest warrants against Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister at the ICC is tantamount to mercilessly pouring gasoline on the fire of anti-Semitism spreading around the world.

Similar indignation was voiced by Israel’s political leadership. The reason for their anger is the careful choice of legal language in the statement issued by the ICC’s chief counsel, Karim Khan.

Karim Khan’s speech said that international law and the law of armed conflict should apply equally to all. Based on that law, he argued in court in favor of issuing an arrest warrant. Notably, Karim Khan served as the Chief Counsel of the ICC as well as a consultant to the King of Britain.

He said, “No foot soldier, commander, civilian leader” can act on the condition of being exempted from liability. This law cannot be applied selectively. If so, then we will create the situation for its (this law) to collapse.’

He said, Israel has the right to defend itself. But their ‘senseless crimes’ do not absolve Israel of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law. Failure to comply with that law justifies the issuance of warrants against Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant.

US President Joe Biden also reacted angrily to the request to issue an arrest warrant against Netanyahu. He said applying for an arrest warrant was “humiliating”. According to Biden, ‘there can be no comparison between Israel and Hamas.’

At an event for Jews at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said the ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders was absurd. Let me clarify, what the ICC prosecutor wants to say is why Hamas and Israel cannot be put in the same row. We will always stand by Israel’s security threats.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, basically, the U.S. is rejecting the allegations against Israel.

Israel’s leading human rights group Betselm said the arrest warrant was a symbol of “Israel’s moral decline”. The organization also said, “The international community has already sent a signal to Israel that they (Israel) will continue their policy of violence, killing and destruction but will not be held accountable. This will not continue.”

A panel of ICC judges will now consider whether to issue arrest warrants against the accused. After that, states that have signed the Rome Statute of the ICC will be obliged to detain the accused if they get the chance. Russia, China and the United States are not among the 124 signatories. Israel has not signed it either.

But the ICC said in its ruling that it has the legal authority to prosecute war crimes. That’s because Palestine is among the signatory countries.

If the arrest warrant is issued, it would mean Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, would not be able to meet with close Western allies without risking arrest.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the ICC’s action was ‘not helpful in achieving a ceasefire, the release of hostages or the delivery of humanitarian aid.’

But if warrants are issued, the UK will have to arrest them, unless the Prime Minister can successfully demonstrate that she has diplomatic immunity.

If this ICC warrant is issued, Netanyahu will also come to the list where the names of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya are included.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *