Israeli Opposition Calls ICC Warrants ‘a Crime of Historic Proportions’

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- JUNE 13, 2021: From left, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty

Israel’s opposition leaders attacked the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday for its decision to issue arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over the war against Hamas.

Three Hamas officials were also targeted by the court, but Israel is a democracy with a strong judiciary that adheres to international law, while Hamas is a terror organization. Effectively, the ICC criminalized Israel’s right t0 self-defense.

While they have no love for Netanyahu, the leaders of Israel’s opposition — chief rival Benny Gantz, who is in a unity government with Netanyahu; and Yair Lapid, who leads the opposition in the Knesset — panned the ICC warrants.

Gantz called the decision “a crime of historic proportions,” the Times of Israel notes, recognizing that it would apply to any Israeli leader who dared to take action against Hamas terrorists who target civilians and hide among civilians.

Lapid said the ICC warrants were “unforgivable,” noting the absurdity of equating Israel with Hamas. He added: “I expect the American administration to condemn the arrest warrants,” though U.S. opposition had been lukewarm.

As Breitbart News has noted, in 2021 President Joe Biden revoked a 2020 executive order by President Donald Trump that placed sanctions on the ICC for attempting to investigate the U.S. or allies not party to the ICC’s Rome Statue for actions taken against terrorists.

Ironically, Gallant is also viewed as a potential rival to Netanyahu, and publicly criticized Netanyahu’s policies for postwar Gaza last week. The ICC considers both equal to terrorists.

Last month, as rumors of ICC indictments emerged, Netanyahu warned that the ICC would undermine its own legitimacy:

Netanyahu also called the potential indictments “an outage of historic proportions,” noting that the ICC, which had been established in the wake of the Holocaust, was now being used in an effort to destroy the Jewish state. He also warned that ICC indictments against Israeli leaders for fighting terror would be a threat to all democracies.

Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog — also a former opposition leader — issued a warning on April 30:

As I have reiterated over the last months to leaders from around the world: Israel has the full right and duty to free our hostages and defend our citizens.

The state of Israel, our military, and security forces are working tirelessly to achieve these goals, operating totally in accordance with international law. I unequivocally object to any attempt to abuse international legal institutions – including the ICC – to deny the state of Israel its basic rights. We have an independent and robust judicial system that knows how to investigate as needed.

Such actions will only serve to tie the hands of all free and democratic nations in the fight against terror, and must be strongly opposed.

It remains to be seen whether the U.S. and other democratic nations change their approach to the ICC.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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