ICC seeks arrest of Netanyahu and Hamas: right or wrong?

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant as well as three Hamas leaders. The main charges against the Israeli politicians are starvation of civilians, attacks on a civilian population, extermination and murder. The ICC accuses Hamas leaders of hostage-taking, rape, torture, extermination and murder. Israel and the US have reacted with outrage.

Público (PT) /

Treat Israel like any other country

Público shows understanding for the judgment against Netanyahu and Gallant:

“Israel has the right to exist, it has the right to defend itself, but it doesn’t have the right to do what it is doing now. ... What is tolerated coming from Israel would not be tolerated coming from Russia, China, Iran or any other country. ... UN officials and Human Rights Watch have reported that they are now the target of planned attacks by Israeli security forces.”

Amílcar Correia
The Spectator (GB) /

This court is biased

For The Spectator the arrest warrant against Netanyahu is unjust:

“Syrian president Bashar Assad, whose struggle to remain in power resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including through use of chemical weapons, has not been issued one. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose country has been violently targeting women and dissidents, violating human rights and sponsoring international terrorism, has also not been issued with one. It is also curious that it has taken the ICC seven months after Hamas’s hideous attack to threaten its leaders with arrest warrants. The court’s selective approach raises concerns that it may not be as fair and impartial as it should be, and therefore, not fit for purpose.”

Limor Simhony
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Arrogant and counterproductive

The International Criminal Court is exerting influence on an ongoing conflict, criticises the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“This is presumptuous and extremely unwise — any actor who has any idea of politics would be happy to leave this hot potato for a subsidiary level to deal with and only intervene if it then fails to address the problem. ... The ICC will cause quite a stir with arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Gallant and the Hamas henchmen but will fail to achieve its legal goals, because it is entirely unrealistic that they will be extradited. What the ICC will achieve, however, is the political strengthening of those forces in Israel that are behind the crackdown in Gaza, as well as of the antisemitic enemies of Israel. ... An international organisation could hardly behave more nonsensically.”

Peter Rasonyi
La Stampa (IT) /

This is about individuals, not nations

Vladimiro Zagrebelsky, former judge of the ECHR, defends the ruling in La Stampa:

“It would be dramatic for the credibility of international humanitarian law — and for the international legal system — if the commitment made by the states were now ignored, or even turned into an accusation of political insensitivity or bias levelled against the prosecutor and the judges. ... With their claim to immunity the most powerful governments would gain the upper hand. ... In the past, the ICC has been accused of focusing only on Africa and numerous African rulers. The investigative work and the conclusions of the ICC prosecutor show that these allegations of bias and discrimination were unfounded. ... The ICC passes judgment on individuals, not states.”

Vladimiro Zagrebelsky
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

New era for Israeli politicians

The indictment is a turning point for the relationship between Israel and the Western alliance of states, the Süddeutsche Zeitung notes:

“If the rift had already been apparent for some time, this is now notarised confirmation of it. The way Western allies, including the US, have clearly distanced themselves from the government in Jerusalem recently has no doubt emboldened The Hague to intervene. Now the world will become a very small place for Netanyahu and his defence minister, with the threat of arrest if they travel to Europe, for example. Hamas couldn’t care less if there are warrants for its leaders’ arrest; their status as pariahs can’t get any worse than it already is. But a new era is dawning for Israel’s politicians.”

Ronen Steinke