ICC seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, and 3 Hamas leaders

The International Criminal Court has announced that arrest warrants are being sought for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three top leaders of Hamas. These warrants are in connection with the October attack on Israel, which is believed to have sparked the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

In a letter, Khan stated that the evidence his office has gathered, which includes survivor and eyewitness interviews, authenticated multimedia materials, satellite imagery, and statements from alleged perpetrator groups, strongly indicates that Israel has deliberately and systematically deprived the civilian population in all areas of Gaza of essential items necessary for human survival.

According to a recent social media update by the Gaza Ministry of Health, the number of Palestinian casualties since the commencement of the war, triggered by the Hamas attack on October 7, stands at a staggering 35,386 deaths and 79,366 injuries.

Rumors of arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have been circulating since last month. Israel has been using diplomatic channels in an effort to prevent their issuance.

Khan also sought warrants against Yahya Siwar, who leads Hamas in Gaza, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, the commander of Hamas’s military wing, and Ismail Haniyeh, who is the head of Hamas’s political bureau.

In his statement, Khan argued that the crimes against humanity that were charged are a result of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. He emphasized that these crimes, according to their assessment, are still ongoing.

The Israeli military forces announced on Friday that they have successfully retrieved the bodies of three individuals who were held hostage during the attack on October 7. Unfortunately, these individuals were killed while attempting to escape from the Nova music festival.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, along with other Israeli leaders, strongly criticized the request for arrest warrants targeting Netanyahu and Gallant, denouncing them as “beyond outrageous.”

According to Herzog, this unilateral political move taken in bad faith not only emboldens terrorists globally but also goes against the fundamental principles of the court, such as complementarity and other legal norms.

The comparison between these heinous terrorists and the democratically elected government of Israel is completely unacceptable. The Israeli government is committed to fulfilling its duty to defend and protect its citizens, all within the boundaries of international law. Drawing parallels between the two is outrageous and should not be tolerated by anyone.

According to Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s finance minister, the arrest warrants issued against Netanyahu and Gallan should be seen as “arrest warrants for all of us” in Israel. He further asserts that these warrants should serve as a catalyst for the dismantling of the court.

Benny Gantz, a potential political rival to Netanyahu, referred to Hamas as a “blood-thirsty” organization and criticized the arrest warrants against the Israeli, stating that it reflects a moral bankruptcy.

Hamas has also criticized the plans for warrants against its leaders, arguing that it is actually the victim of war crimes committed by Israel.

Hamas has expressed strong condemnation towards the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for attempting to equate the victim with the executioner through the issuance of arrest warrants against several Palestinian resistance leaders. According to Hamas, this move is seen as an unfair portrayal that fails to acknowledge the true nature of the situation.

In regard to the ICC’s application, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his opinion, stating that it inaccurately implies that Israel and Hamas share equal responsibility for the conflict in Gaza. He emphasized that Israel is acting in self-defense to protect its sovereignty.

“The ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is completely unacceptable,” declared President Biden in an official statement from the White House. “I want to make it unequivocally clear: there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever between Israel and Hamas. We will consistently support Israel in defending itself against any security threats.”

The Council of American-Islamic Relations, which is the largest Muslim civil rights group in the country, has urged Biden to refrain from intervening in the ICC’s pursuit of Israeli leaders for prosecution.

The organization stated that President Biden’s acknowledgement of the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine was justified. They believe that the president should now take a similar stance on the arrest warrant applications sought by the ICC prosecutor against Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes in Gaza.

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story, it was inaccurately stated that the arrest warrants had been issued.

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