The Economist’s Analysis: Is Netanyahu Standing on the ICC’s ‘Shack’?

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 2:59 pm

Israel has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its alleged involvement in the ongoing war in Gaza. It could lead to arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials in his government. The government is very worried about this.

It is believed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of his cabinet and generals of the country’s defense forces will be on the list of delegates to the ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

However, the ICC has yet to say whether it is considering taking such a step or not. But Netanyahu sees it as a very serious matter. On April 30, he said in a statement, “Any warrant will cause protests.” On the other hand, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, warned that the threat of “retaliation” against the court could undermine its impartiality.

ICC’s ‘Arrest Warrant’ and its ‘Consequences’

A number of accusations have been made against Israel in the ongoing war in the Palestinian-besieged Gaza. For example, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held a decisive hearing on whether Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. However, ICC deals with individuals and not countries like ICZ.

In the history of the last two decades, the number of those accused by the ICC is not less. This long list of 54 people includes Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi. Five months before his death in 2011, an arrest warrant was issued against him for crimes against humanity. There is also Omar al-Bashir, a former dictator of Sudan. He was convicted in 2009; But he is still listed on the ICC website.

In addition, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin in March last year. He is accused of illegally deporting children from Ukraine.

The ICC is investigating the obstruction of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, suspected by Israeli legal officials. Because the claim of the international relief organizations, some parts of the valley are facing famine due to the ongoing conflict and the obstruction of the access of relief. As a result, the ICC may consider the matter as a ‘deliberately inflicted famine’ and a ‘war crime’.

Such accusations may be based in part on the statements of some Israeli ministers. Because in the wake of the Palestinian independence movement Hamas’ attack on the southern part of Israel on October 7, several ministers suggested that all supplies to Gaza should be cut off and the valley should be completely blockaded.

Meanwhile, Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which empowers the ICC. As a result, Israel will hand over its officials for trial — unlikely. However, if the arrest warrant is issued, it will put Israel under international pressure, an Israeli official said. The communication of accused persons with their foreign partners will also become quite complicated. Also, ICC members can be arrested even if they travel to 124 countries.

In short, the threat of issuing an arrest warrant can be quite powerful. And fearing the issuance of arrest warrants, Israeli officials are personally trying to increase aid to Gaza. This is also one of the reasons for delaying the attack on Rafah town. Still, on May 7, the Israeli army said it had taken control of the Rafah crossing.

But many of Israel’s supporters argue that the ICC’s intervention is “unjustified”. The reason, they say, is that Israel has its own independent judiciary to hold the government accountable. A petition by five human rights organizations is currently being heard in Israel’s High Court, which would allow the government to deliver more aid to Gaza.

On May 3, the petitioners argued that the Israeli government was not fulfilling the aid promises it had made in previous hearings. If they cannot obey the Israeli court’s verdict, they will soon have to be held accountable internationally.

Source: The Economist

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