ICC Charges Israeli Prime Minister with War Crimes

Image: naturalnews.com

By Angelina Tang

On May 21st, 2024, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas supreme leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Hamas commanders Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif. These warrants were on account of war crimes in the Israel-Hamas war. This accusation has generated both support and outrage internationally.

The arrest warrants were requested by Karim Khan, the head prosecutor of the ICC. It has been stated that, in a unanimous decision, that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Haniyeh, Sinwar, and Deif committed the war crimes of taking hostages in inhumane conditions, extermination, murder, and sexual violence. There are also “reasonable grounds” to believe that Gallant and Netanyahu committed the war crimes of extermination, murder, persecution, starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, targeting civilians, and willfully causing great suffering. A panel of three judges will review the accusations for about two months before formally approving of and issuing them.

The accusations against Hamas are based on their attack on southern Israel on October 7th, 2023, during which they killed 1,200 Israelis and took 250 hostages. The accusations against Israel are based on their military response in Gaza since then, which has killed 35,000 Palestinians and caused a famine in northern Gaza.

The ICC is based in The Hague, Netherlands. It is an international court that seeks to prosecute acts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. It was established in 2002 under the Rome Statute, and it has previously indicted Russian leader Vladimir Putin for child abductions in the Ukrainian invasion in 2022. While 124 states are party to the statute, many around the world have refused to accept its jurisdiction, including Russia and the U.S..

Since Israel is not a member of the ICC, Netanyahu and Gallant cannot be immediately prosecuted if the arrest warrants are formally issued. However, these warrants, even if not issued, have acted to isolate Israel in the international community as they continue to wage war in Gaza and bomb civilian targets.

These accusations have been either accepted by or denounced by the international community. Netanyahu himself called the accusations an illustration of “the new anti semitism,” and that comparing the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to Hamas by accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes was “absurd and deceitful.” The U.S. has firmly restated its support for Israel and stated that there is “no equivalence… between Israel and Hamas.” Italy has since stated its opposition to the ICC’s accusations, while France and China have stated its support for the ICC’s independent, impartial judgment of world affairs.