Bipartisan U.S. Officials Warn ICC Destroys Its Credibility By Targeting Israel
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting of the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

A group of bipartisan U.S. lawmakers is warning that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is on the verge of destroying its credibility if it issues arrest warrants for Israeli officials for their execution of the country’s war against Hamas in response to the terrorist group’s October 7 massacre.

Israeli officials reportedly believe that the ICC is readying arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Herzi Halevi.

The ICC is not recognized by many countries, including the United States, Russia, China, India, and many more.

A Biden administration official told Axios: “As we have publicly said many times, the ICC has no jurisdiction in this situation and we do not support its investigation.”

U.S. officials say that it’s not clear whether the ICC is going to issue arrest warrants, the report said, but added that the organization was under pressure from NGOs and a few member states that did not like how Israel was executing its war against Hamas.

Axios reported separately that some U.S. lawmakers are preparing legislation to sanction ICC officials involved in the investigation.

Netanyahu said on Friday that “Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense.”

“The threat to seize the soldiers and officials of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is outrageous. We will not bow to it,” he said. “Israel will continue to wage to victory our just war against genocidal terrorists and we will never stop defending ourselves. While the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, it would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the soldiers and officials of all democracies fighting savage terrorism and wanton aggression.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson released a statement on Monday calling the ICC’s reported move to pursue arrest warrants against Israeli officials “disgraceful” and said that the warrants were “illegitimate”.

“Such a lawless action by the ICC would directly undermine U.S. national security interests,” he said. “If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel, thereby endangering our country’s sovereign authority.”

“Instead of wrongly targeting Israel, the ICC should pursue charges against Iran and its terror proxies, including Hamas, for engaging in horrific war crimes,” he continued. “The Biden Administration must immediately and unequivocally demand that the ICC stand down and the U.S. should use every available tool to prevent such an abomination.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) posted on X: “It would be a fatal blow to the judicial and moral standing of ICC to pursue this path against Israel.”

“Calling on @POTUS to intervene as part of the administration’s ongoing commitment to Israel,” he added.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) also slammed the ICC, posting on X: “Even though Hamas is the undeniable cause of the war in Gaza, the ICC might target Israel as though it were aggressor, as though Hamas had never committed October 7th.”

“The issuance of arrest warrants would represent the culmination of a long process of criminalizing the world’s only Jewish State,” he continued. “The weaponization of international law—in the service of terror—cannot be allowed to stand.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) posted on X: “For months, families of Oct. 7th victims urged the ICC to arrest Hamas leaders for the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Instead the ICC apparently considers warrants on Israeli leaders for legitimate self-defense. Such a decision would be outrageous & I condemn it.”

“The ICC has failed to go after those responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in #Syria, #Sudan and #Tigray; going after Israel will turn the International Criminal Court into a kangaroo court,” he continued. “@POTUS must condemn this & I know Congress will ensure consequences for such an absurd decision.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also weighed in on the matter, writing: “The ICC is on the verge of throwing in with genocidal terrorists and against a democracy responding to acts of terror. They want Israel to accept suicidal terms for a ceasefire that will not work. It would be the end of the ICC’s credibility. The absolute minimum response from the US if the ICC targets Israel would be sanctions against the Court and its officials.”

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