Friday, June 14, 2024

US claims there is no genocide in Gaza

US President Joe Biden has dismissed arguments that Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip can be described as genocide, reiterating Washington’s support for Tel Aviv as he hosted an event for Jewish American Heritage month at the White House.

On Monday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh, accusing them of “war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

Speaking at the White House later in the day, Biden condemned the ICC move as well as separate allegations by the UN’s International Court of Justice that Israel’s actions in Gaza could be genocidal.

“Let me be clear, contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that,” Biden said.

Palestinian group Hamas carried out an attack into Israel on October 7 which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza, which according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry has killed over 35,500 people and left almost 80,000 others wounded. Israel has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is completely eliminated.

“We stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas,” Biden stated on Monday, adding, “We want Hamas defeated. We’ve worked with Israel to make that happen.”

In January, an interim ruling by the ICJ, the UN’s top court in The Hague, ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide and improve humanitarian conditions for Gaza’s population. The lawsuit, filed by South Africa late last year, accuses Tel Aviv of committing systematic war crimes in the Palestinian region.

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