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Netanyahu: ICC arrest warrants for Israelis would be ‘hate crimes’

In World
April 30, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sharply criticized the possible issuing of arrest warrants against him and other Israelis by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

If the court were to issue the warrants, it would be an “unprecedented anti-Semitic hate crime,” Netanyahu said in a video address on Tuesday. Such a step would violate Israel’s right to self-defence following the Hamas massacre on October 7 last year, he claimed.

Netanyahu spoke of a “distortion of justice and history,” and insisted that the possible arrest warrants would have no influence on Israel’s deployment in the Gaza Strip. “No decision, whether in The Hague or elsewhere, will in any way diminish our determination to achieve all war aims,” the prime minister said.

It has been reported in Israel that the government assumes that ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan could issue international arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi this week.

The International Criminal Court prosecutes individuals for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Israel does not recognize the court, but the Palestinian territories are a state party, so the prosecutor is authorised to investigate.

Legally, an ICC arrest warrant against the persons concerned would mean that states that have signed the ICC statutes would be obliged to arrest these persons and hand them over to the court if they enter the territory of these states.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also emphasized on Tuesday Israel’s unrestricted right to free its hostages and defend its citizens. Israel’s state and military are working in accordance with international law to achieve these goals, Herzog wrote on the X platform, formerly Twitter.

The ICC has given no public indication that arrest warrants are imminent.

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with representatives of hostages' families and bereaved families from the Heroism forum and the Hope forum, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. Kobi Gideon/GPO/dpa

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with representatives of hostages’ families and bereaved families from the Heroism forum and the Hope forum, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Kobi Gideon/GPO/dpa

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