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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an ICC decision will not affect his country. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Last week, government officials and legal experts convened an “emergency discussion” at the Prime Minister’s office to address the threat of ICC arrest warrants for senior government officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said any decisions made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not affect Israel’s actions, but would however “set a dangerous precedent.”

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

His remarks come amid Israeli media reports of the potential issuance of arrest warrants by the ICC against Netanyahu and other Israeli political and military leaders for alleged violations of international law in the ongoing assault of the Gaza Strip.

“Israel will continue to wage to victory our just war against genocidal terrorists and we will never stop defending ourselves,” said Netanyahu.

“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,” he stressed.

Emergency Meeting

Last week, government officials and legal experts convened for an “emergency discussion” at the Prime Minister’s office to address the looming threat of such arrest warrants, the Times of Israel reported, citing the Israeli Channel 12.

During the Tuesday discussion, which included Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, it was reportedly decided that Israel would seek assistance from influential international diplomatic circles to counteract the potential issuance of arrest warrants.

According to The Times of Israel, Tel Aviv fears “the arrest warrants would be sought on the basis of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with countries that claim Israel is breaching international law and the 4th Geneva Convention said to be leading the effort.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reportedly held telephone conversations with his counterparts in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Austria, urging them to exert political pressure on the court in favor of Israel.

ICC Criticism

UN officials and international law experts have repeatedly criticized the ICC for its slow handling of prosecuting those responsible for Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

In November 2023, South Africa, along with a few other countries, referred Israel to the ICC for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during its assault on the Gaza Strip.

In December, about 100 Chilean lawyers filed a complaint before the ICC againstNetanyahu accusing him of committing crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes in Gaza.

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

Over 34,000 Killed

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,388 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,437 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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