Biden Defends Israel’s Actions in Gaza After ICC Requests Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu

President Joe Biden has defended Israel after International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Let me be clear, we reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders,” President Biden said at a Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House on Monday.

President Biden refuted the prosecutor’s claims that Israeli leaders have committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, stating: “What’s happening [in the enclave] is not genocide.”

“Whatever these warrants may imply, there’s no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,” he said. President Biden also issued a statement affirming Washington’s commitment to the security of Israel.

Mr. Khan on May 20 requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for allegedly enabling the Israeli army to use starvation as a method of warfare in their ongoing response to Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023 attacks and for allowing attacks that have allegedly targeted civilian populations in Gaza.

“We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population pursuant to State policy. These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day,” Mr. Khan said in a statement.

The requested arrest warrants also target three Hamas leaders—Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh—for the killings and kidnappings that Hamas terrorists committed when they entered southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, and for allegations of sexual violence and torture during the Oct. 7 attack against Israel.

Blinken Questions ICC Prosecutor’s Investigation

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also rejected the warrant applications and criticized Mr. Khan for equating the actions of Israeli leaders with those of Hamas terrorists.

“It is shameful. Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Blinken said the prosecutor’s actions could jeopardize the Biden administration’s efforts to negotiate a ceasefire deal that aims to secure the release of hostages and increase humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza.

He reiterated that the court has no jurisdiction over the Israel-Hamas war, adding that Israel was prepared to cooperate with Mr. Khan and his investigation despite not being a member of the ICC.

Mr. Blinken added that Mr. Khan’s staff was supposed to arrive in Israel on May 20 to coordinate a meeting with the Israeli government. However, Israeli officials were later informed that Mr. Khan’s team did not board their flight, around the same time that Mr. Khan went on cable television to announce the charges against the Israeli leaders.

“These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation,” Mr. Blinken said.

The Israeli leader issued a statement condemning Mr. Khan’s warrant applications, calling the move “a travesty of justice.” Mr. Netanyahu said he perceives it as an attempt to deny Israel’s right of self-defense.

NTD Photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Feb. 18, 2024. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

“The prosecutor’s absurd charges against me and Israel’s defense minister are merely an attempt to deny Israel the basic right of self-defense,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

“And I assure you of one thing: This attempt will utterly fail,” he added.

Mr. Netanyahu criticized the ICC prosecutor for creating “a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas.”

“This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR [President Franklin D. Roosevelt] and Hitler,” he stated.

“Notwithstanding the blood libels Mr. Khan has leveled, Israel will continue to wage this war in full compliance with international law,” the Israeli leader added.

Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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