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ICC warrants put hostage rescues at risk, bipartisan group of senators

“We have great confidence in the Israeli judicial system’s ability to administer justice,” the eight U.S. senators stated.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Credit: Sen. Ben Cardin website.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Credit: Sen. Ben Cardin website.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led seven other senators in a bipartisan statement that the International Criminal Court’s plan to obtain arrest warrants for Israeli leaders would “jeopardize efforts to bring about sustainable peace in the Middle East.”

The ICC prosecutor’s decision also threatens to endanger “sensitive negotiations to bring home hostages, including Americans, and surge humanitarian assistance,” the senators wrote. 

The ICC prosecutor stated earlier in the week that he intends to apply for arrest warrants for both Hamas leaders and for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The senators said that the application for the arrest warrants “draws a false equivalence between Israel with its longstanding commitment to the rule of law, and Hamas’s theocratic, autocratic and unaccountable rule over Gaza.”

“To state the obvious: Israel is a functioning democracy, while Hamas is a terrorist organization,” they stated.

The senators rejected the need for the ICC to intervene and expressed their “great confidence in the Israeli judicial system’s ability to administer justice.” 

The other signatories were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

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