Sunday, June 16, 2024

US House passes bill to sanction ICC over Israeli leader arrest warrants

The US House of Representatives has passed a legislation to authorize sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to an ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

House lawmakers passed the bill, dubbed the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, in a vote of 247 in favor, 155 opposed and two present.

On May 20, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan filed arrest warrant requests for officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as for leaders of Palestinian organization Hamas.

Neither Israel nor the United States are parties to the treaty establishing the ICC.

The bill enables the imposition of sanctions on the ICC or any other foreign actor that supports their effort to arrest, detain or prosecute protected persons of the US or its allies; the legislation’s definition of a protected person includes foreign citizens or lawful residents of a US ally that has not consented to ICC jurisdiction.

The legislation was backed by House Republican leadership, but the White House announced that the Joe Biden administration strongly opposes the bill. There are more effective ways to defend Israel and preserve US positions on the ICC, the White House said in a statement.

The Hague-based court has been investigating Israel’s actions in the occupied territories for the past three years and more recently the brutal war in the Gaza Strip as well.

Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza also prompted South Africa to file a case against Tel Aviv in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December 2023, which led to the UN court ordering the regime to stop its genocidal actions in the besieged territory and allow humanitarian aid to reach the war-ravaged area.

Israel’s bloody war machine has killed 36,550 Palestinians since October 7, 2023. The vast majority of the fatalities are women and children.

The savage campaign was launched after Palestinian resistance groups carried out their historic Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities.

Israel has additionally enforced a comprehensive blockade on the coastal sliver, severing the supply of fuel, electricity, sustenance and water to the population of over two million Palestinians residing there.

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