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Israel slams ICC arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Gallant for Gaza war crimes

May 20, 2024 at 4:24 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant attend a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on October 28, 2023 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli officials condemned an International Criminal Court (ICC) application for arrest warrants against Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, for war crimes in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Gallant and three Hamas leaders.

Khan said he has reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu and Gallant bear criminal responsibility for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed on Palestinian Territories, specifically in the Gaza Strip, from at least 8 October.

In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz termed the ICC application as a “historical disgrace that will be remembered forever.”

Katz said his Ministry will open a specialised situation room focused on “fighting against the decision intended primarily to shackle Israel’s hands and prevent it from exercising its right to self-defence.”

WATCH: BREAKING: ICC seeks arrest warrants for Israel PM Netanyahu, DM Gallant

Far-right Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, accused the ICC of anti-Semitism, saying the application showed “hypocrisy and hatred of Jews like that display by the Court in the Hague since Nazi propaganda.”

Extremist National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, called for ignoring the ICC moves against Netanyahu and Gallant, and called for stepping up the assault against Hamas in Gaza, “until they are completely destroyed”.

Opposition leader, Yair Lapid, described the ICC decision as a “terrible political failure”.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the enclave.

More than 35,500 Palestinians have since been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and over 79,600 others injured since last October following a Hamas attack.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Key facts about Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant