U.S. Lawmakers Consider Sanctions in Response to Criminal Court's Netanyahu Arrest Warrant Application
U.S. Lawmakers Consider Sanctions in Response to Criminal Court's Netanyahu Arrest Warrant Application

Lawmakers in the United States are weighing the possibility of imposing sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to its potential issuance of an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This was stated by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson.

"In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed. If the ICC is allowed to threaten Israeli leaders, ours could be next," Johnson said in a statement on Monday.

He continued, "The ICC has no authority over Israel or the United States, and today's baseless and illegitimate decision should face global condemnation."

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan announced on May 20 that arrest warrant applications had been filed against Netanyahu and Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas's top leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. The warrants accuse them of committing crimes against humanity during Israel's recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Republican lawmakers have called for the United States to impose sanctions on the ICC. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik told the New York Post, "The ICC is an illegitimate court that equates a peaceful nation protecting its right to exist with radical terror groups that commit genocide." Stefanik met with Netanyahu on Monday morning as the warrants were announced.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries described the warrants as "shameful and unserious" in a statement.

Earlier this month, Representative Texas introduced the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, which aims to revoke visas for ICC officials who investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or American allies.

Meanwhile, human rights attorney Amal Clooney and other experts advised the ICC prosecutor to seek the arrest warrants.

Clooney, who is married to actor George Clooney, stated on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website, "I served on this panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives. The laws that protect civilians in war were developed more than 100 years ago and apply in every country in the world, regardless of the reasons for a conflict."

U.S. President Joe Biden has called the ICC prosecutor's application for arrest warrants "outrageous," emphasizing that the U.S. "will always stand with Israel against threats to its security."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected the ICC prosecutor's equivalence between Israel and Hamas, warning that the announcement could jeopardize negotiations for a hostage deal and ceasefire.

Blinken clarified that the United States has maintained from well before the current conflict that the ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. He also mentioned that the ICC prosecutor was scheduled to visit Israel next week to discuss the investigation and hear from the Israeli government.

In response to the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced the warrants, stating, "The absurd and false warrant by the prosecutor in The Hague is directed not only against the prime minister of Israel and the defense minister but against the entire State of Israel."

"It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with supreme heroism against the vile Hamas murderers," Netanyahu said in a video statement reported by Israeli media.

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