Sunday, May 19, 2024

Israel threatens to retaliate against Palestine if ICC issues arrest warrants: Report

Tel Aviv has threatened that it will retaliate against the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials over the Gaza war, according to a report.

Israel has been increasingly fretting over the possibility of arrest warrants being handed down by the ICC against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the Israel Defense Forces, the Axios news website reported, citing two anonymous Israeli and US officials.

Israel has told the US it has information that PA officials are pressuring the ICC prosecutor to hand down the warrants.

Israel could choose to withhold the PA’s tax revenue, which it collects and then distributes to the government. The economic retaliation could lead to the collapse of the PA, which administers some areas of the occupied West Bank under the landmark 1993 Oslo Accords.

The ICC has been leading an investigation since 2021 into potential war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian groups dating back to 2014. The probe has grown to include ongoing attacks in the war in Gaza.

A US official told Axios that Washington believes that arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials would be a mistake, stating, “We are quietly encouraging the ICC not to do it. It will blow up everything. Israel will retaliate against the Palestinian Authority.”

On Tuesday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated the US position that it does not support the ICC’s ongoing investigation but stressed that the Joe Biden administration “would certainly not support judges at the ICC or anywhere else for that matter to be intimidated or threatened”.

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