US Working To Prevent ICC Arrest Warrant for Netanyahu

By Dave DeCamp –

The US and Israel are working together to prevent the International Criminal Court from issuing an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other high-level Israeli officials, Israeli media has reported.

Haaretz reported that the Israeli government is working under the assumption that arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi could be issued as soon as this week. The report said that the US is already engaged in an effort to block the warrants.

Walla reported that Netanyahu is “under unusual stress” over the potential warrants and is leading a “nonstop push over the telephone” to prevent them with a focus on contact with the Biden administration.

In a statement on Friday, Netanyahu said an arrest warrant wouldn’t stop Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to undermine its basic right to defend itself,” he said. “While decisions made by the court in the Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they will set a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and public figures.”

Neither the US nor Israel are parties to the ICC, and the US has a contentious history with the court. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush signed a bill into law that would authorize the use of force to free any US service members or government officials brought to the ICC, which is based in the Hauge.

The controversial law, known as the American Service-Members’ Protection Act, authorizes the US to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the” ICC, and is nicknamed the Hague Invasion Act.

The Trump administration sanctioned ICC officials for their investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The Biden administration reversed the sanctions but continued to put pressure on the court, which worked since the ICC announced it would “deprioritize” its investigation of US forces in Afghanistan.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the Biden administration changed its attitude toward the court and backed its arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was issued in 2023. But now that Israel is being targeted, the US will likely resort back to its pressure tactics. Any criminal investigation against Netanyahu also implicates President Biden since he has provided so much support for the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

Israel is also facing pressure from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), another Hague-based court that rules it’s “plausible” Israel is carrying out genocide in Gaza, a ruling the US has rejected. The main difference between the two courts is that the ICC prosecutes individuals while the ICJ deals with disputes between countries.

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