Is the International Criminal Court about to arrest Netanyahu?

 April 19, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

JERUSALEM – Israel is becoming increasingly concerned that the International Criminal Court in The Hague is preparing international arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other senior political figures and high-ranking Israel Defense Forces officials.

Most see it as a continuation of the lawfare that reached a previous peak when South Africa brought its case against Israel on charges of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip to the International Court of Justice – also based in the Hague – at the end of 2023.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a high-level meeting took place last night – at which Israel's current Strategic Affairs Minister and former Israel Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, and Foreign Minister Israel Katz were all present. The purpose: Shape a plan to prevent any potential arrest warrants, a prospect that, according to local TV reports, has rocked the Israeli political establishment.

According to a Jerusalem Post report, the claims of imminent arrest warrants seem puzzling, "given that the ICC [International Criminal Court] has not decided all the relevant jurisdictional questions it is supposed to decide before reaching an arrest warrants stage." It is thought that Netanyahu discussed the matter with both David Cameron, the UK's current foreign secretary, and former prime minister, as well as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, when they met this week.

It isn't yet clear on which of the many claims against Israel the International Criminal Court would be acting. In 2021, the ICC sent a letter to Israel, effectively accusing it of dragging its feet regarding investigations over the IDF’s conduct during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, although there were tens of probes and hundreds of preliminary ones. Usually, it can take months to complete a single probe.

The charges, however, might relate to the current conflict with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israel in the fall of 2023 of failing to provide humanitarian aid quickly enough, although 100-200 trucks were making it through daily. This has increased to some 500 per day now.

In 2020, during the first cabinet meeting after Israel’s 35th government had been sworn in at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Israel’s newly reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an astonishing – and if current reports are to be believed, prescient – claim. Netanyahu laid out a series of strategic challenges facing Israel, which included the International Criminal Court's threat to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes carried out in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Judging by the scrambling during the meeting last night, it appears that The Hague is preparing to make good on its threat.

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