International Criminal Court Seeks to Issue Arrest Warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu

[Photo Credit: By U.S. Embassy Jerusalem -, CC BY 2.0,]

On Monday, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announced that he is pursuing arrest warrants for Hamas and Israel’s leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their respective seven-month conflict.

Although neither Netanyahu nor his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, are in imminent danger of apprehension, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan’s announcement dealt a symbolic setback that further isolated Israel in relation to the Gaza conflict.

Khan levied allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Netanyahu, Gallant, and three Hamas commanders, namely Yehia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, in relation to the Gaza Strip and Israel.

In evaluating the prosecutor’s evidence, a tribunal of three judges will make the determination regarding the issuance of arrest warrants and the progression of the case.

On average, it takes the justices two months to render such decisions.

Given that Israel is not a party to the court proceedings, Netanyahu and Gallant do not currently face any imminent danger of prosecution, notwithstanding the issuance of arrest warrants.

However, as Israel advances in Gaza, Khan’s declaration further isolates the country, and the risk of detention could impede the travel of Israeli leaders internationally.

Domestically, Netanyahu is under intense pressure to terminate the war as soon as possible.

Weekly demonstrations have attracted thousands of Israelis who are urging the government to reach an agreement regarding the return of Israeli detainees held captive by Hamas.

Gallant and Benny Gantz, the two other members of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, have threatened to resign in recent days if the Israeli leader fails to articulate a clear postwar vision for Gaza.

On the contrary, Netanyahu was met with unwavering support on Monday, despite widespread condemnation of the ICC prosecutor’s action by politicians, including opposition leader Yair Lapid.

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