‘No equivalence’: Biden defends Israel after ICC requests arrest warrants | Israel’s war against Gaza News

The US president insists Israel and Hamas cannot be compared after the ICC seeks injunctions over alleged Israeli war crimes.

US President Joe Biden has defended Israel against war crimes accusations in the world’s top courts.

Biden’s comments came after Karim Khan, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), said he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes committed during the war in Gaza.

“Let me be clear: We reject the ICC’s request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders,” Biden said at an American Jewish Heritage Month event at the White House on Monday, the same day Khan announced he was seeking warrants. of arrest for Netanyahu and Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes.

“There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,” Biden added. Hours earlier, he had issued a strongly worded statement in which he called the ICC orders “scandalous.”

Israel also faces a separate case over alleged genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which was brought by South Africa.

Biden said Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza.

“Contrary to the accusations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), what is happening in Gaza is not a genocide. We reject that,” Biden said in his speech.

In January, the ICJ ruled that there was a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and ordered Israel to take a series of interim measures, including preventing any genocidal acts.

While Biden’s defense of Israel was met with warm applause at the White House event, his election campaign has been marred by pro-Palestinian protests across the United States, and some pro-war advocates have called the president from “Genocide Joe.”

Expert Panel

The ICC prosecutor outlined specific charges against Netanyahu and Gallant, including “starving civilians as a method of war” and “extermination,” although he said his full investigation was ongoing.

Khan also requested arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders – Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri (also known as Deif) and Ismail Haniyeh – for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including extermination and murder, taking captives, torture, rape and other acts of sexual violence.

The charges were supported by evidence prepared by a panel of experts that included international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

In a statement issued about the report prepared by the experts, Clooney wrote: “I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law.”

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney helped prepare an expert report on evidence of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza for the ICC’s chief prosecutor (File: Heinz-Peter Bader/Getty Images)

Some US Republican lawmakers were even more forceful in their criticism of the ICC prosecuting Israel on Monday.

“My colleagues and I look forward to ensuring that Khan, his associates, and their families never set foot in the United States again,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton wrote in X.

The ICC is the world’s first permanent international war crimes court and its 124 member states are obliged to immediately arrest a wanted person if they are found on the territory of a member state.

The United States is not a member of the ICC and its “greatest influence” could be to pressure its allies (mostly ICC signatory European nations) not to act on orders, said Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Washington. , CC.

Differences between the ICC and the ICJ

Israel is not a member of the ICC. Neither are China and Russia.

International reactions to the ICC prosecutor’s plan to issue arrest warrants have been mixed.

In comments delivered to the United Nations Security Council, Switzerland’s U.N. envoy Pascale Baeriswyl said her country “fully supports the court and underlines the importance of respecting its independence.”

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2023 for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, but Monday’s move marked the first time the court attempted to intervene in the Middle East conflict.

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