Netanyahu accuses ICC of ‘anti-Semitism’

The International Criminal Court won’t stop Israel from achieving “total victory” in Gaza, the prime minister has said

Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of setting a “dangerous precedent” after its top prosecutor, Karim Khan, requested arrest warrants for both the Israeli PM and defense minister Yoav Gallant over alleged war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday evening that the ICC prosecutor’s “absurd” move “undermines every democracy’s right to defend itself,” while insisting that the court has “no jurisdiction over Israel.”

“Mr. Khan’s abuse of this authority will turn the ICC into nothing more than a farce. He’s doing something else. He is callously pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism that are raging across the world. Through this incendiary decision, Mr. Khan takes his place among the great antisemites in modern times,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister went on to state that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was “the most moral army in the world” fighting a “just war that is unparalleled,” according to the Hebrew version of the statement. Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza in response to a surprise Hamas attack on its border regions in October 2023, which claimed the lives of some 1,200 people and saw around 250 taken hostage.

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West Jerusalem’s response involved heavy bombardments of Gaza followed by a large-scale ground operation, which is still ongoing. According to data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry, 35,456 have been killed and 79,476 others wounded as a result of Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive.

On Monday, Netanyahu said that he rejected “with disgust” what he called Khan’s attempt to create a “twisted and false moral equivalence” between the Israeli government and the “genocidal terrorist organization” Hamas. He also stated that nothing would stop Israel from achieving “total victory” in Gaza.

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Alongside with Netanyahu and Gallant, Khan also sought arrest warrants for three top Hamas top officials, including the Palestinian armed group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, the commander of its military wing – al-Qassam Brigades – Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh.

Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. If warrants against Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are issued, any of the court’s 124 member states will be obliged to arrest them if they set foot on their territory.

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