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Israel asks 25 countries to intervene against ICC arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant

July 2, 2024 at 11:47 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) in Hebron, West Bank on August 21, 2023 [Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz has sent letters to 25 of his counterparts around the world, asking them to intervene against the proposed arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant.

Countries are being asked to “join Britain in submitting a legal opinion to the International Criminal Court in The Hague against the Chief Prosecutor’s request to issue arrest warrants” for the Israeli prime minister and defence minister.

According to the Israeli Walla news site, senior foreign ministry officials have said that, “If these countries, or even some of them, send such a legal opinion to the court in The Hague, the judges may be convinced that there is no reason to respond to the Prosecutor’s request.”

In May, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said that he had asked for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in the Gaza Strip.

Britain submitted a request to the court’s judges on 10 June to hold a hearing on the issue of the ICC’s jurisdiction to issue arrest warrants against Israeli citizens. The court’s judges accepted the British request, and requested a legal opinion on the matter by 12 July. They pointed out that other interested countries can provide similar views.

The ICC ruled in 2021 that it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories. This move was welcomed by the then UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk.

A senior Israeli official has said that a special working team has been formed in the foreign ministry to deal with the arrest warrant crisis, and to mobilise legal support from countries around the world in preparation for the 12 July deadline.

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