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Biden says ICC move on arrest warrants for Israeli leaders “outrageous”

Biden says ICC move on arrest warrants for Israeli leaders “outrageous”
US President Joe Biden (left) has walked back comments hinting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) might be dragging out the conflict to cling to power. The photo is of a meeting between the two in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 18 October. (Photo: Miriam Alster / EPA-EFE / POOL)

WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday slammed the International Criminal Court prosecutor's application for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the move "outrageous".

“And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.” Biden said in a statement.

His top aide Secretary of State Antony Blinken also criticized the move, raising questions over the court’s jurisdiction as well as its process in making this application. He added that it could jeopardize negotiations to achieve a hostage deal and a ceasefire.

“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,” Blinken said.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said he had requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

Khan said in a statement issued after over seven months of war in Gaza that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the five men “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Blinken said Israel was prepared to cooperate with the court and that the prosecutor was scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week, but instead he went on a cable television to announce the charges.

“These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation,” Blinken said.

In 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration accused the ICC of infringing on U.S. national sovereignty when it authorized an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan. The U.S. targeted court staff, including then-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, with asset freezes and travel bans.

Biden’s administration lifted those sanctions in April 2021.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Trevor Hunnicutt and Caitlin Webber; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Alistair Bell)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Agf Agf says:

    For once I agree with Biden. It is outrageous to compare the two. Israel is fully justified in its actions. Every drop of blood spilt in Gaza is directly attributable to the actions of Hamas.

    • Dhasagan Pillay says:

      Let’s not be ridiculous. The hostages must be returned and the Israelis need to get back behind their own lines and mind their own damn business. Continual blockades and colonisation will cause this kind of retaliation every single time. Nobody is in the right right now.

      • Kanu Sukha says:

        You surely include and mean the thousands of Palestinian ‘hostages’ languishing in Israeli jails for over the past 50+ years ?

        • Dhasagan Pillay says:

          Kanu Sukha – let me quote myself for you, I said, “Let’s not be ridiculous.” That refers equally to attempts to tell each other what we are saying or mean. And even more so attempts at ideological justification for the atrocities that have and are being committed.

          The hostages taken on Octover 7th must be released, without conditions, reservations, or even a draft statement with the words, “Notwithstanding” anywhere on the page. And the IDF must surgically remove itself from Palestine, no conditions or reservations or special operational plans with the words, “Contingency” anywhere on that page. That’s what I mean, and only what I mean.

          The desire of people wholly removed apart from the hormonal washes triggered by obsessing over the news cycle to social justice warrior their own beliefs is a level of hysteria nobody requires right now. Remember – it’s just 10 days to load shedding is a credible threat right now. So, take the time to be lekker. Because, if the comments section on DM is anything to go by, people won’t be pleasant for a while thereafter.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Genocide Joe has not yet woken up to the fact that like Trump … no ONE is above the law ! He can expect to have an arrest warrant for him also, for being an accomplice in the genocide. That is what it is according to the Special Rapporteur’s report also. As for his blinkered (sometimes called Blinken) Zionist secretary of state .. the less said the better. Time for the American hubris (thanks Beinart) to end ! Joe happily endorsed and supported the ICC warrant against Putin, but now that it against his apartheid pal BB … its crocodile tears time ! Shameless hypocrisy ! America does not get to define what the ‘world order’ or ‘international law’ is or not . When it is the only state (besides its 51st state called Israel) at the UN to veto any resolutions, it tells you everything one needs to know about unending hubris. Even a few of its ‘western allies’ are waking up to this reality… rather slowly. As for the fancy attempt at deflection about ‘equivalence’ … even our darling Dali could do a better tap dance !

    • Albert.questiaux says:

      Better take a hard look in the mirror, before you condemn everyone who does not share your views or interpretation of what sparked this current war.

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