Biden slams ICC’s ‘outrageous’ request for Netanyahu arrest warrant

President Biden is condemning the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) decision to pursue arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as ‘outrageous.’

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced earlier Monday that his office has ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Netanyahu, Gallant and Hamas leaders have committed ‘war crimes and crimes against humanity’ since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7. 

‘The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,’ Biden said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

‘And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas,’ Biden added. ‘We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security,’ the president continued.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also took aim at the ICC’s announcement, saying in a separate statement Monday that the State Department rejects the ‘[p]rosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas,’ calling it ‘shameful.’

‘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. Those limits are rooted in principles of complementarity, which do not appear to have been applied here amid the Prosecutor’s rush to seek these arrest warrants rather than allowing the Israeli legal system a full and timely opportunity to proceed,’ Blinken argued. 

Blinken noted that in other matters, ‘the Prosecutor deferred to national investigations and worked with states to allow them time to investigate’ and ‘did not afford the same opportunity to Israel, which has ongoing investigations into allegations against its personnel.’

‘There are also deeply troubling process questions. Despite not being a member of the court, Israel was prepared to cooperate with the Prosecutor. In fact, the Prosecutor himself was scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week to discuss the investigation and hear from the Israeli Government,’ Blinken continued. ‘The Prosecutor’s staff was supposed to land in Israel today to coordinate the visit. Israel was informed that they did not board their flight around the same time that the Prosecutor went on cable television to announce the charges. These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation.’ 

The decision also ‘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,’ Blinken said.

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