Netanyahu blasts reports of criminal arrest warrants from The Hague

Consideration by The Hague to label the actions of Israeli leaders on par with the Russian president found fierce opposition from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

More than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes. Now, as pressures from supposed allies have challenged the ongoing counteroffensive from Israel after the Oct. 7 terror attack, the international body was expected to treat Netanyahu and other leaders no different than Putin.

“The International Criminal Court in The Hague is contemplating issuing arrest warrants against senior Israeli government and military officials as war criminals,” confirmed the prime minister in a Tuesday video address as he spoke to concerns it would only “pour jet fuel on the fires of antisemitism…”

“This would be an outrage of historic proportions. International bodies like the ICC arose in the wake of the Holocaust committed against the Jewish people,” he argued. “They were set up to prevent such horrors; to prevent future genocides. Yet now, the international court is trying to put Israel in the dock.”

“It’s trying to put us in the dock as we defend ourselves against genocidal terrorists and regimes, Iran of course, that openly works to destroy the one and only Jewish state,” continued Netanyahu.

“Branding Israel’s leaders and soldiers as war criminals will pour jet fuel on the fires of antisemitism, those fires that are already raging on the campuses of America and across capitals around the world,” said the prime minister. “It will also be the first time that a democratic country, fighting for its life according to the rules of war, is itself accused of war crimes.”

According to Axios, after a Sunday call between Netanyahu and President Joe Biden where the ICC was discussed along with defense against Iran’s recent attack, hostage negotiations and calls for humanitarian aid to Gaza, a White House National Security Council spokesperson would not comment on specifics from the conversation, but told the outlet, “As we have publicly said many times, the ICC has no jurisdiction in this situation and we do not support its investigation.”

In fact, Biden had held a similar stance when the ICC had issued its arrest warrant for Putin, but had added, “Well, I think it’s justified. But the question is, it’s not recognized internationally by us, either. But I think it makes a very strong point.”

Meanwhile, the same day that the House Republican Conference Chair, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, had introduced an ethics complaint against special counsel Jack Smith, formerly a chief prosecutor at The Hague, regarding his efforts to bring former President Donald Trump to trial, she was joined by fellow Empire State congressmen Anthony D’Esposito and Marcus Molinaro in encouraging Biden to speak out against the “sham prosecution” of Netanyahu.

“As the Israel government continues its military operations in the Gaza Strip with the goal of wiping out the terrorist group Hamas, the United States must remain steadfast in its support of our greatest ally,” stated the letter also addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “You both must ensure that any error, like your abandonment of Israel at the United Nations Security Council in March 2024, is not repeated when dealing with these accusations.”

“As neither the United States nor Israel have ever been party to the ICC, empaneled in The Hague, the Court’s authority has never been recognized by any presidential administration. If the Court does decide to move forward with these sham prosecutions, based on accusations leveled by terrorist organizations and corrupt foreign governments, there must be consequences,” the letter continued. “We call on the Biden administration to consider the harshest punishments for those involved with these prosecutions if they do move forward.”

Netanyahu also addressed some of the repeated claims about the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) amid reports of ever-growing numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza and contended, “The Israeli army, the IDF, is one of the most moral militaries in the world. It takes endless measures to prevent civilian casualties, measures that no other army takes. It does so while fighting a terrorist enemy which uses its own civilians as human shields. You know the truth. Hamas places its weapons, and its terrorists, in hospitals, schools, mosques and throughout civilian areas. They do this in order to win immunity and to maximize civilian casualties.”

The prime minister also spoke to the humanitarian aid facilitated by Israel, but reiterated how the Hamas-run government subverted the efforts to aid the civilian population.

“The government and people of Israel reject outright this grave threat to our security, this grave threat to our very existence, and I want to assure you, no ICC action will impact Israel’s iron-clad determination to achieve the goals of our war with Hamas terrorists,” Netanyahu added on the threat of arrest warrants to him and other Israeli leaders. “We will destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities in Gaza, we will release all our hostages and we will ensure that Gaza never poses a threat to Israel again.”

Kevin Haggerty

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