Reports: Netanyahu fears ICC arrest warrant – news.ORF.at

The ICC has been investigating radical Islamists Hamas and Israel for war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip since 2021. Investigations are also underway into violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Reports suggest that Netanyahu is very concerned about the possible arrests, which would represent a dramatic deterioration in Israel's international reputation.

Netanyahu wrote on X (Twitter) on Friday that under his leadership, “Israel will never accept any attempt by the criminal court to undermine its inherent right to self-defense.” The head of government also wrote: “The threat to capture soldiers and representatives of the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world is outrageous.” “.

ICC States are obligated to arrest

Such a decision by the ICC would not affect Israel's actions, Netanyahu wrote, but would “set a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and representatives of all democracies fighting against brutal terrorism and reckless aggression.”

APA/AFP/Ronen Zvulun

Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing international pressure

Legally, the ICC arrest warrant against Netanyahu and other Israelis means that states that are signatories to the ICC Statutes are obligated to arrest and hand over these people to the courts – if they enter their territory.

Warning of the International Court of Justice

The ICC prosecutes individuals for suspected war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Israel does not recognize the court, but the Palestinian territories are a state party. Therefore, the prosecution is allowed to investigate. In contrast, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is supposed to resolve disputes between states. The UN High Court recently warned Israel to do everything possible to prevent a possible genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Relatives of Hamas hostages petitioned the ICC in February to issue arrest warrants against the terror organization's leaders. They called for criminal investigations into hostage-taking, violent sex crimes, torture and murder.

Abbas: US must stop Rafa attack

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on the US government to stop an Israeli ground attack on Rafah in the Gaza Strip. “We call on the United States to call on Israel to stop its operations in Rafah, Arabia,” Abbas said at a special meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Saudi Arabia. According to Abbas, Israel's military operation in Rafah would be “the biggest disaster in the history of the Palestinian people.”

In recent months, Netanyahu has repeatedly announced a large-scale ground offensive in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip – despite international protests against the plans. More than 1.5 million people living in the northern Gaza Strip have fled to the city near the Egyptian border in recent months. According to the Israeli government, there are still four Hamas battalions there.

Blind employees suspect the legal use of weapons

According to Reuters, there is considerable skepticism among US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's staff about the legality of Israel's use of US arms supplies. In an internal ministry document seen by Reuters, senior officials in several departments said they had not seen assurances from Israel that the weapons would be used “credibly or reliably” in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Listed are examples of military operations that government officials said raised questions about potential violations. According to the report, continued attacks on protected bases and civilian infrastructure have included “a disproportionate amount of civilian harm to the benefit of military gain” and unprecedented killings of humanitarian aid workers and journalists.

Disagreement within the US State Department

The Office of Political and Military Affairs, which is responsible for military assistance and arms supplies, warned Secretary Blinken not to cut off arms supplies from the United States. It would limit Israel's ability to defend itself and require Washington to reevaluate all “current and future sales to countries in the region.” The reports provide the most comprehensive picture yet of disagreement within the State Department over whether Israel is violating international humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.

An October 7 attack by Hamas on the Israeli border killed about 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages in the Gaza Strip. The attacks triggered Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has so far killed more than 34,400 people, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Authority.

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