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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 10:50 UTC



Biden says ICC move to prosecute Netanyahu is “outrageous”

Tuesday, May 21st 2024 - 10:02 UTC
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There is no equivalency between Israel and Hamas, Biden stressed There is no equivalency between Israel and Hamas, Biden stressed

US President Joseph Biden Monday criticized International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan's decision to request arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders alike on the grounds that comparing one with the other was “outrageous.” In Biden's view, the move suggests that Israel and Hamas share equal blame for the war in Gaza.

“The ICC prosecutor's application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” Biden said in a White House statement. “Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalency -none- between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

“Any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel -- working to fulfill its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law -- is outrageous and cannot be accepted by anyone,” Israel's President Isaac Herzog agreed. “Taken in bad faith, this one-sided move represents a unilateral political step that emboldens terrorists around the world and violates all the basic rules of the court according to the principle of complementarity and other legal norms, Herzog said about the ICC's initiative to imprison Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

In a separate statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the ICC holding Israel as accountable as Hamas was “shameful” because “Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans.” Blinken also warned that this decision “could jeopardize ongoing efforts to reach a cease-fire agreement that would get hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in, which are the goals the United States continues to pursue relentlessly.”

According to Axios, Netanyahu has urged US President Joe Biden to “intervene” to prevent the ICC from approving Khan’s warrant request.

The Hamas Islamist group, a designated terrorist militant organization in the US, the UK, and other countries, said that in seeking arrest warrants for three of its leaders, Khan was equating ”the victim with the executioner” and insisted it had the right to stage an armed resistance against Israeli occupation.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, and even if the arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face any imminent risk. However, they might have difficulties traveling abroad because any signatory country to the Rome Statute would have to execute these warrants, provided they are signed.

Also in Washington, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, called the ICC move “disgraceful” and “lawless,” and insisted that if unchallenged, ”the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel.”

On the opposite end of the US political spectrum, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) pointed out in a statement that “Just as President Biden recognized that the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant against [Russian President] Vladimir Putin due to war crimes in Ukraine was 'justified,' the president should do the same now regarding the arrest warrant applications sought by the ICC prosecutor against Benjamin Netanyahu due to war crimes in Gaza.” The country's largest Muslim civil rights group also said Biden should not interfere with ICC's effort to prosecute the Israeli leaders.

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