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Germany: We will execute ICC warrant against Netanyahu

"Of course. Yes, we abide by the law," said a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, March 17, 2024. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, March 17, 2024. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Germany will detain Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against him, a German government spokesman said Wednesday.

Asked by reporters in Berlin if Germany would execute an ICC warrant against Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Steffen Hebestreit, a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said, “Of course. Yes, we abide by the law,” Politico reported.

ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber justices are considering an application by top prosecutor Karim Khan to charge the two Israeli officials with “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Palestinian Authority has already declared its acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed by the Jewish state. However, Jerusalem does not recognize the tribunal’s jurisdiction over Israel Defense Forces actions in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria.

If the court in The Hague greenlights the warrants, it would constitute an “unprecedented antisemitic hate crime,” Netanyahu warned late last month after initial reports surfaced of Khan’s intentions.

The ICC prosecutor’s is requesting warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant for crimes including “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict,” Khan told CNN on Monday.

Separate charges against Hamas terrorist leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, “political” leader Ismail Haniyeh and “military” chief Mohammed Deif include “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention,” Khan said.

Following Khan’s announcement, Germany declared that it respects the independence of the court in The Hague. “The International Criminal Court is a fundamental achievement of the international community that Germany has always supported. Germany respects its independence and the conduct of proceedings just as it does for all other international courts,” stated Berlin’s Federal Foreign Office.

Germany noted, however, that “the simultaneous applications for arrest warrants for the Hamas leadership on the one hand and the two Israeli officials on the other have resulted in an incorrect implication of equivalence.”

The missive went on to note that, “The Court will have a host of difficult questions to answer here, including in particular the question as to its jurisdiction and the complementarity of investigations carried out by affected states governed by the rule of law, which include Israel.”

Israeli Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor took to X on Tuesday to criticize what he described as “the weak statements we hear from some institutions and political actors” in the wake of Khan’s announcement.

“The Chief Prosecutor equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass. Germany has a responsibility to readjust this compass,” he tweeted.

“The German’ Staatsräson’ is now being put to the test—no ifs or buts,” in reference to former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s famous pledge about Israel’s security being Germany’s “reason of state.”

On Tuesday, an Israeli government spokeswoman urged the “nations of the civilized world” to disregard the warrants if the court issues them.

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