update deskIsrael at War

Israel worries ICC could order arrest of top officials, including premier

According to reports, an emergency meeting was convened at the Prime Minister's Office.

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 is concerned that the International Criminal Court in The Hague could soon issue arrest warrants against senior officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas, Channel 12 News reported Thursday.

According to the report, an emergency meeting was held at Netanyahu’s office on Tuesday in the presence of Minister of Strategic Affairs 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, Channel 12 added.

The Palestinian Authority has already declared its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed by Israel. However, Israel does not recognize ICC jurisdiction over the so-called matzav, or political and military “situation” regarding its conflict with the Palestinians.

The United States has also voiced strong objections to the Palestinians joining the ICC, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously expressing “serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.”

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has said that the ICC should have already issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu “for war crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza.”

Following a visit to southern Israel in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan said that the massacre of more than 1,200 people represented “some of the most serious international crimes that shock the conscience of humanity.”

Commenting on Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip since the terrorist attacks and the kidnapping of more than 250 people, Khan noted that the Israel Defense Forces “has trained lawyers who advise commanders and a robust system intended to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.”

The prosecutor continued, noting “conflict in densely populated areas where fighters are alleged to be unlawfully embedded in the civilian population is inherently complex, but international humanitarian must still apply and the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied.”

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