Friday, June 21, 2024

US lashes out after Israeli officials targeted with arrest warrants

US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken went on the offensive Monday after the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed arrest warrants against two top Israeli leaders over the war in the Gaza Strip which has so far killed more than 35,500 Palestinians.

Biden offered a full-throated rejection of the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant requests for Israeli leaders amid the ongoing war against Hamas.

“Let me be clear, we reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants,” Biden said at an event in the Rose Garden celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month.

“There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,” Biden continued, adding, “It’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection. Let me be clear, what’s happening is not genocide.”

Biden also acknowledged “the trauma” of October 7 and reiterated his “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s safety and security. He promised not to rest until the hostages being held by Hamas are released.

The president also pledged his commitment to a two-state solution.

Biden and his top officials have said the creation of a Palestinian state with guarantees for Israel’s security is the only way to bring peace and stability to the Middle East.

Blinken also stated the US “fundamentally rejects” the announcement by the ICC prosecutor Karim Khan that he is applying for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials “together with” Hamas leaders, saying that it “could jeopardize” ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire and hostage release agreement between Israel and Hamas.

“We reject the prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful. Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans,” Blinken said in a statement.

“Fundamentally, this decision 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 added.

The ICC’s request targets top Israeli officials and Hamas leaders.

The warrants against the Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav, mark the first time the ICC has targeted the top leader of a close ally of the United States.

Israel and the US are not members of the ICC. However, the ICC claims to have jurisdiction over Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank after Palestinian leaders formally agreed to be bound by the court’s founding principles in 2015.

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