Friday, May 24, 2024

Israel scrambling to prevent ICC arrest warrants for Gaza war crimes

Tel Aviv has launched a major campaign to prevent the International Criminal Court (ICC) from issuing arrest warrants for top Israeli officials over war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

“The Prime Minister’s office is worried that the ICC will soon issue arrest warrants against [Benjamin] Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as IDF (army) Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi,” an Israeli diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post.

“Where is [US President Joe] Biden? Why is he quiet while Israel will potentially be thrown under the bus?” the source said.

The Israeli source argued that The Hague-based court could not act against Netanyahu and top army officials without overt or tactic support from the US.

Israeli analyst Ben Caspit stated that Netanyahu was “under unusual stress” over the prospect of an ICC arrest warrant against him and other Israeli officials.

Netanyahu was leading a “nonstop push over the telephone” to prevent an arrest warrant, focused especially on Biden’s administration, he wrote on Walla news site.

Israel and the US are not members of the ICC and do not recognize its jurisdiction.

Palestine was admitted as a member of The Hague-based court in 2015.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has earlier instructed its embassies worldwide to be prepared for potential repercussions if the ICC issues arrest warrants against Israeli officials for war crimes and human rights violations in Gaza.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on the Palestinian enclave since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

Nearly 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 77,600 others injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of necessities.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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