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Anger, Joy Over ICC Bid To Seek Netanyahu’s Arrest

The request has divided the world along expected lines, with the West deploring the clubbing of Netanyahu with Hamas, and South Africa, Hamas and Human Rights Watch hailing it as a positive move.
ICC request evokes mixed reactions
'ICC request absurd,' says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor said on Monday he had requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

Here are some reactions to the announcement:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I reject with disgust the comparison of the prosecutor in the Hague between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas…With what audacity do you compare Hamas that murdered, burned, butchered, decapitated, raped and kidnapped our brothers and sisters, and the IDF soldiers fighting a just war?”

US President Joe Biden: “Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.”

US Secretary Of State Antony Blinken: “We reject the prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas.”

Palestinian Militant Group Hamas: “Hamas strongly denounces the attempts of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to equate the victim with the executioner by issuing arrest warrants against a number of Palestinian resistance leaders.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog: “Any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel -working to fulfil its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law – is outrageous and cannot be accepted by anyone.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz: “I intend to speak with foreign ministers of leading countries around the world to urge them to oppose the prosecutor’s decision and declare that even if warrants are issued, they do not intend to enforce them against Israeli leaders.”

Benny Gantz, Israeli War Cabinet Minister: “Drawing parallels between the leaders of a democratic country determined to defend itself from despicable terror to leaders of a blood-thirsty terror organisation (Hamas) is a deep distortion of justice and blatant moral bankruptcy.”

Wasel Abu Youssef, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee: “The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves… The ICC is required to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials who are pursuing crimes of genocide in the Gaza Strip.”

South African Presidency: “South Africa welcomes the decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Kahn KC, on the application for arrest warrants for the Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Israel and three leaders of Hamas for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity…”

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Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer: “We fully respect the independence of the ICC. The fact however that the leader of the terrorist organisation Hamas whose declared goal is the extinction of the State of Israel is being mentioned at the same time as the democratically elected representatives of that very State is non-comprehensible.”

Senator Jim Risch, Senior Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “There is no cause for why the court should be investigating Israel as it is not a party to the Rome Statute and Israel has a fully functional judiciary.”

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich: “The decision to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant is a “show of hypocrisy and Jew-hatred…Arrest warrants against them are arrest warrants against us all.”

Sami Abu Zuhri, Senior Hamas Official: The decision “equates the victim with the executioner” and encourages Israel to continue its “war of extermination” in Gaza.

Reed Brody, War Crimes Prosecutor:  “Many thought this request would never come. … Israeli leaders are finally facing a legal reckoning for their actions. Top Hamas officials likewise face justice for the cruel and inhuman taking of hostages and other crimes against humanity. ICC warrants if approved would make Netanyahu a wanted man, in the same category as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.”

Human Rights Watch: “Victims of serious abuses in Israel and Palestine have faced a wall of impunity for decades. This principled first step by the prosecutor opens the door to those responsible for the atrocities committed in recent months to answer for their actions at a fair trial.”

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala: “The ICC Chief Prosecutor’s proposal to issue an arrest warrant for the representatives of a democratically elected government together with the leaders of an Islamist terrorist organisation is appalling and completely unacceptable…”

Spokesperson For British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “This action is not helpful in relation to reaching a pause in the fighting, getting hostages out or getting humanitarian aid in. The UK, as with other countries, does not yet recognise Palestine as a state and Israel is not a state party to the Rome Statute”, which outlines the ICC’s areas of jurisdiction.



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