Article Image

IPFS News Link • War Crimes

Netanyahu Issues Warning To US Leaders Over ICC Arrest Warrants: 'You're Next'

•, by Jack Phillips

The ICC this week said it would seek arrest warrants for Mr. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and the Hamas leaders, prompting criticism from both Israeli and top U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden. The ICC claimed that the warrants for the Israeli leadership were over the country's conduct in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Mr. Netanyahu said the warrants against himself and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over the country's conduct in its fight against Hamas in the Gaza Strip set a "dangerous" precedent for other democratic countries, including Israel's allies.

"Israel is given here a bum rap. I think it's dangerous. Basically, it's the first democracy being taken to the dock when it is doing exactly what democracies should be doing in an exemplary way," he told CNN in a televised interview. "It endangers all other democracies. Israel is first, but you're next. Britain is next. Others are next, too."

Also in the interview, Mr. Netanyahu asserted that the ICC claims were "false, dangerous, and outrageous," and that chief prosecutor Karim Khan is only exacerbating the problem. It's also false to see Israel and Hamas as equals, he added.

"He's equating the democratically elected leaders of Israel with the terrorist tyrants of Hamas. That's like saying, well, I'm issuing arrest warrants for FDR and Churchill but also for Hitler. Or I'm going to issue arrest warrants for George W. Bush but also for [Osama] bin Laden. That's absurd," Mr. Netanyahu said.

A panel of three judges will decide whether to issue the arrest warrants and allow a case to proceed. The judges typically take two months to make such decisions.

Israel is not a member of the court, so even if the arrest warrants are issued, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gallant do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.