ICC Prosecutor’s Arrest Warrant Request for Netanyahu, Gallant, Spark Outrage in Israel, U.S.

By Yoni Weiss

Prime Minister and head of the Likud party Binyamin Netanyahu arrives for a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan’s application for arrest warrants against the Israeli leadership, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over war crimes on Monday, Israeli politicians and citizens, and the United States, have rejected the comparison of the two parties.

“The outrageous decision by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, to seek arrest warrants against the democratically elected leaders of Israel is a moral outrage of historic proportions,” Netanyahu said in an address following news of the request. “It will cast an everlasting mark of shame on the international court.

“Israel is waging a just war against Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization that perpetrated the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

“Now, in the face of these horrors, Mr. Khan creates a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas. This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR and Hitler.

“What a disgrace!”

Netanyahu said further that Khan is “callously pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism that are raging across the world,” and that in doing so, he “takes his place among the great antisemites in modern times.”

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz said, “Placing the leaders of a country that went into battle to protect its citizens on the same level as bloodthirsty terrorists is moral blindness and a violation of the duty to protect its citizens. Accepting the prosecutor’s position would be a historical crime that will not go away.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid stressed, “It is a political, moral failure. We can’t accept a comparison between [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Hamas chief Yahya] Sinwar.”

The United States forcefully rejected the proposal.

“ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, no equivalence —none— between Israel and Hamas. We’ll always stand w/ Israel against threats to its security.”

“The United States fundamentally rejects the announcement today from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he is applying for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials. together with warrants for Hamas terrorists,” read a statement from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. “We reject the Prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful. 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.

“Moreover, the United States has been clear since well before the current conflict that that ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. The ICC was established by its state parties as a court of limited jurisdiction,” the statement continued.

Blinken said that the request casts doubt on the ICC’s investigation. “These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation. Fundamentally, this decision does nothing to help, and could jeopardize, ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would get hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in, which are the goals the United States continues to pursue relentlessly.”

Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the request was “unfair and reprehensible.”

“As disappointing as the ICC’s decision is, it comes as no surprise because for decades the ICC has shown it harbors deep biases against Israel,” Schumer said in a statement. “This decision suggesting an equivalency between Israel and Hamas is another glaring example.

“As I have said many times, there has never been—and there never can be—any equivalency between Israel’s right to defend itself against terror and Hamas’s barbarity. The ICC’s decision seeking warrants against Israeli leaders is not only shameful but also fails to follow protocol and process in a country where it has zero jurisdiction.”

The Hostage Families’ Forum issued a statement welcoming “the warrants against senior Hamas officials, which constitute further recognition of the crimes against humanity they committed and are still committing against the citizens of Israel, including 128 abductees who are still in Hamas basements and suffer daily abuse.”

Meanwhile, the organization rejected “the symmetry between Israel’s leadership and the murderers of Hamas,” calling for immediate negotiations to release the abducted.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich stated, “We have not seen such a show of hypocrisy and hatred towards Jews by the ICC since the times of Nazi propaganda.

“Haters of Israel come and go, but Israel’s eternity will not lie. These arrest warrants will be the last nail in the dismantling of this political and antisemitic court. The friends of Israel and the truly enlightened countries will not allow its continued existence and functioning.”

Smotrich called the targeting of Netanyahu and Gallant “warrants against all of Israel.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!