update deskIsrael at War

ICC may issue arrest warrant for Netanyahu, Gallant this week

Diplomatic efforts to thwart Chief Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan's move have reportedly failed.

The entrance to the International Criminal Court. Credit: Robert Paul Van Beets/Shutterstock.
The entrance to the International Criminal Court. Credit: Robert Paul Van Beets/Shutterstock.

Jerusalem believes that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will issue arrest warrants against senior officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as early as this week.

Diplomatic efforts to thwart ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan’s move have failed, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported.

International arrest warrants are expected to be filed against Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, according the the report.

The broadcaster said the warrants would likely be issued against the background of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where the IDF is fighting Hamas, as well as accusations that Israel breached the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Israel recently ramped up efforts to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza, opening a new land crossing designed primarily to facilitate the entry of foreign assistance. Earlier this month, the United States confirmed that the quantity of aid entering the Strip had substantially increased.

Sigrid Kaag, the U.N.’s senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, told the Security Council last week that her team has had “very constructive cooperation” with the Jewish state.

Jerusalem believes the ICC will decide in the “coming weeks” and the Israeli government is still fighting the looming arrest warrants on the diplomatic front, mainly through talks with the U.S.

An emergency meeting was held at Netanyahu’s office on April 16 in the presence of Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

The four decided to take “urgent action with international authorities” to prevent the arrest of Israelis abroad.

The ICC would not be considering issuing arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials without the approval of the United StatesChannel 12 reported last week, citing senior sources associated with the court.

“The sources at The Hague said that it is impossible that the chief prosecutor would have decided on such a dramatic step, in a war that is still ongoing, with very little evidence, if he had not at least had a ‘green light’ from the Americans,” said Israeli journalist Amit Segal.

Khan has served in his position since February 2021, when he was elected with U.S. support.

He has closed two cases that “greatly troubled the Americans”—on undeclared detention related to Afghanistan in Europe and to war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan—Channel 12 noted.

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

Netanyahu on Friday vowed to “never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine” the Jewish state’s “inherent right of self-defense.”

“The threat to seize the soldiers and officials of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is outrageous. We will not bow to it,” tweeted the premier.

“While the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, it would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the soldiers and officials of all democracies fighting savage terrorism and wanton aggression,” the post concluded.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has threatened to crush the Palestinian Authority financially if certain unilateral actions are brought against Israel in the international arena.

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