Biden opposes International Criminal Court investigation of Israel

    The Biden administration does not support the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday after reports surfaced over the weekend that Israel is concerned the ICC is preparing to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials.

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    The statement comes as Israeli leaders are preparing for the ICC to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials as soon as this week, multiple outlets reported over the weekend.

    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also alluded to potential ICC action Friday in a statement, warning it “would set a dangerous precedent threatening the soldiers and officials of any democracy fighting criminal terrorism and aggression.”

    The White House expressed opposition to the ICC probe after House Speaker Mike Johnson, urged the Biden administration to challenge the reported arrest warrants in a statement Monday, warning that failure to do so would lead the ICC to “assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against “American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel.”

    Unnamed Israeli officials reportedly told the New York Times they believe Netanyahu could be subject to a warrant, along with Hamas leaders. The charges would likely accuse Israel of blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, according to the Times, citing Israeli sources. The International Criminal Court has the authority to prosecute individuals accused of war crimes, but it has no police force and relies on its 124 member countries (not including Israel or the United States) to fulfil arrest warrants.

    Think they’re above international law

    “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defence,” Netanyahu said on X on Friday.

    “While the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, it would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the soldiers and officials of all democracies fighting savage terrorism and wanton aggression.”

    Foreign minister Israel Katz said his country would “not bow our heads or be deterred” by the legal threat.

    “If the warrants are issued, they will harm the commanders and soldiers of the IDF (Israeli army) and provide a morale boost to the terrorist organization Hamas and the axis of radical Islam led by Iran against which we are fighting,” Katz said over the weekend.

    Neither the United States nor Israel is a member of the ICC.

    The ICC opened a probe in 2021 into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

    ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan has said the investigation now extends to hostilities since Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel.

    The ICC is the world’s only independent court set up to probe the gravest offences by individual suspects, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.


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