Hamas Complains ICC Didn’t Issue Enough Arrest Warrants for Israelis

Palestinian supporters of Hamas burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration outside the de
Abid Katib/Getty Images

Genocidal terrorist organization Hamas complained on Monday that International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan should have demanded more arrest warrants for Israeli officials over their conduct of the war in Gaza — and none at all for Hamas, which started the war on October 7 by perpetrating some of the most savage atrocities in human history.

Khan requested arrest warrants for war crimes on Monday for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh.

The Associated Press

Karim Ahmed Khan, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Justice in the Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Khan’s request will be considered by a three-judge ICC panel, which could take several months to reach a decision.

Israel is not a member of the ICC and Hamas is an illegal international terrorist organization whose leaders are hiding in Qatar – which is also not a member – so it is highly unlikely that anyone would be arrested or prosecuted. 

In theory, an outstanding warrant could be an inconvenience for someone like Netanyahu or Gallant if they wanted to travel abroad, as member states would be obliged to arrest them.

The Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

However, the ICC issued a warrant in March 2023 for the arrest of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine and it has not compromised Putin’s lifestyle very much. The biggest complication posed for Putin so far was a few months of drama over whether South Africa, an ICC member, would arrest him if he traveled to a summit in Johannesburg last summer. Putin eventually decided not to attend the meeting.

While Netanyahu, Gallant, and other Israeli officials slammed Khan’s request as “outrageous,” “disgraceful,” and a “travesty of justice,” Hamas leaders said only the Israelis should be accused of war crimes.

Hamas on Monday demanded the retraction of “warrants issued against the leaders of the Palestinian resistance,” and said the ICC was trying to “compare the victim to the executioner” – by which they meant Israel’s military response to the hundreds of rapes, murders, and infanticides Hamas committed on October 7.

Hamas was also miffed that Khan requested warrants for “only two of the war criminals of the Zionist entity.”

“We appreciate the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for two Zionist war criminals. We see the issuance of these memorandums as a legal step in the right direction, despite the fact that they came late,” the terrorist group said.

Khan said in a CNN interview on Monday that Hamas leaders stood accused of “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape, and sexual assault in detention.” He said the ICC holds a “variety of evidence” against the three Hamas leaders, including photos and video.

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“The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel,” he said.

On the other hand, Khan accused Netanyahu and Gallant of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies,” and “deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

“The fact that Hamas fighters need water doesn’t justify denying water from all the civilian population of Gaza,” he said.

Khan said that if Israeli officials disagree with his recommendations, “they are free, notwithstanding their objections to jurisdiction, to raise a challenge before the judges of the court, and that’s what I advise them to do.”

The Biden administration, which has grown a little wobbly in its support for Israel under intense political pressure from the Hamas-supporting wing of the Democrat Party, was roused back to Israel’s side by Khan’s desire to arrest Netanyahu and Gallant.

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Monday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called Khan’s actions “extremely wrongheaded” and “shameful.”

“Fundamentally, this decision does nothing to help, and could jeopardize, ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would get hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in, which are the goals the United States continues to pursue relentlessly,” he said.

On the other hand, the Hamas-supporting U.N. special rapporteur to the Palestinians, Francesca Albanese, gushed that the ICC requesting warrants for Israeli leaders was a “historical, historical day” for her.

“It’s not a small thing that the ICC prosecutor [is seeking] arrest warrants for two Israeli leaders and it’s not just for war crimes … it’s for crimes that have been committed intentionally and willfully – the all-state policy that has animated this campaign against the population in Gaza is put into question,” she told Al Jazeera News.

Albanese has previously attempted to justify the Hamas atrocities of October 7 as a legitimate Palestinian response to “Israel’s oppression.” On Monday, she was willing to concede that Hamas might have committed a crime or two, but her major complaint was that the ICC did not jump in to conduct an investigation of October 7 that could have forestalled the Israeli response.

“Without condoning or justifying the crimes that have been committed by Hamas, these crimes should have been investigated, and prosecuted. It shouldn’t have given leeway to Israel to start a war which has turned into a genocidal war against the entire Palestinian population,” she said.


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