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Israeli PM Netanyahu & Hamas leaders reject arrest warrants filed against them

ICC prosecutor files arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas leaders

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan announced on Monday (20 May) that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders.

Particularly, Khan is requesting warrants against Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes such as “starvation,” “willful killing,” and “extermination and/or murder.”

Source: IntlCriminalCourt on YouTube

For Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, the charges include “extermination,” “rape and other acts of sexual violence,” and “taking hostages as a war crime.”

ICC judges will review the application to decide if it meets the criteria for issuing the warrants. This process could take several weeks or even months.

If the warrants are issued, any of the 124 ICC member states would be required to arrest Netanyahu if he visited their country, as reported by Channel News Asia (CNA).

Hamas condemns application for arrest warrants

According to CNA, Hamas “strongly condemns” Khan’s application for arrest warrants against its leaders, but supports the bid against the Israeli officials.

According to the militant group, by issuing arrest warrants against Hamas readers, the ICC prosecutor is equating “the victim with the executioner”.

Source: Getty Images via Britannica

In 2021, Khan also began an investigation into Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian militant groups for possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

However, the ICC prosecutor said this investigation now includes the “escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on Oct 7, 2023”.

He believes that the Hamas leaders are “criminally responsible for the killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians” during the said attacks.


Netanyahu rejects arrest bid ‘with disgust’

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said he “rejects with disgust” the prosecutor’s “comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas,” as reported by CNA.

“With what audacity do you dare compare the monsters of Hamas to the soldiers of the IDF (Israeli army), the most moral army in the world?” the Israeli Prime Minister stated.

He added, “This is like creating a moral equivalence after Sep 11 between President (George W) Bush and Osama bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR (Franklin D Roosevelt) and Hitler.”

According to Netanyahu, Khan is “callously pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism” and “takes his place among the great antisemites in modern times.”

Nonetheless, the Prime Minister stated that no international pressure or decision will stop them from striking those who aim to destroy them.

“We will overthrow the evil rule of Hamas and achieve complete victory,” he said.

Also read: Gaza hospital pens appreciation letter to S’poreans for donations that restored power

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Featured image adapted from IntlCriminalCourt on YouTube

Kim Shelly Tan

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