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Ex-Egypt envoy to Israel: ICC decision against Hamas leaders ‘unfair’

May 21, 2024 at 1:21 pm

In this photo illustration, the International Criminal Court (ICC) logo is seen on a smartphone screen on 16 February 2024 [Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Egypt’s former Ambassador to Israel, Atef Salem El-Ahl, yesterday defended Hamas’s criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to request arrest warrants against three of the movement’s leaders.

Salem said the decision equates the victim and the executioner.

“What Hamas said is true, because they are fighting the occupation, and Hamas is not a terrorist organisation according to the United Nations and did not carry out a terrorist operation outside Gaza, and therefore, the decision of the ICC prosecutor in this regard is not fair,” Salem said In an interview with Egyptian TV channel Extra News.

He added that the ICC prosecutor should have demanded arrest warrants for five or six other Israeli commanders, such as the chief of staff, the chief of operations in Israel, and the extremist National Security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“There is a threat to overthrow the Palestinian Authority and punish the Palestinian people, if the decision of the ICC Prosecutor to arrest the Prime Minister of the Israeli occupying power, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Minister of Defence of the occupation, Gallant, is issued,” Salem told Egyptian presenter Ahmed Tahri during the Talk Politics TV show.

OPINION: The ICC’s arrest warrant for Netanyahu is nothing more than hot air

Yesterday the ICC’s Prosecutor, Karim Khan, said the court is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Khan added that the court is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the movement’s political bureau, Yahya Sinwar, head of the movement in the Gaza Strip, and Muhammed Deif, commander-in-chief of the Qassam Brigades.

This is the first time the ICC has acted against Israel.