Tags: france | emmanuel macron | icc | arrest | warrant | benjamin netanyahu | yoav gallant

Macron's France Backs ICC Arrest of Netanyahu

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:13 AM EDT

France and Belgium released statements supporting the world's top war crimes court and its chief prosecutor's request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas, after Israel and the United States both harshly condemned the effort.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

"France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations," its Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Monday, around the same time Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib posted on X, "Crimes committed in Gaza must be prosecuted at the highest level, regardless of the perpetrators," along with a statement.

While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel's isolation over the war in Gaza.

Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing at least seven and wounding several, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The raid into Jenin is part of months of surging violence in the Palestinian territory.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. There remain an estimated 129 hostages still missing and assumed held by Hamas terrorists or dead.

Israel's defense minister Tuesday slammed the international court prosecutor's request for arrest warrants against himself and Netanyahu.

Yoav Gallant said Khan created a parallel between the militant group and Israel, calling that "despicable and disgusting." He noted that Israel is not party to the International Criminal Court and does not recognize its authority, and stressed Israel has a right to defend itself.

"Prosecutor Karim Khan's attempt to deny the state of Israel the right to defend herself and ensure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, must be rejected explicitly," he said.

Israel's foreign minister was headed to France on Tuesday in a bid to contain the fallout from the decision by the prosecutor of the world court to request arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, a move supported by several European countries, including key ally France.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz' meetings with his French counterpart and other senior officials could set the tone for how countries navigate the warrants — if they are eventually issued — and whether they could pose a threat to Israeli leaders.

Israel still has the support of its top ally, the United States, as well as other Western countries that spoke out against the decision. But if the warrants are issued, they could complicated international travel for Netanyahu and Gallant.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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France and Belgium released statements supporting the world's top war crimes court and its chief prosecutor's request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas, after Israel and the United States both harshly condemned the effort.
france, emmanuel macron, icc, arrest, warrant, benjamin netanyahu, yoav gallant
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2024-13-21
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:13 AM
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