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"A shameful political maneuver": Cruz, Rubio and many others destroy the ICC for the arrest request against Netanyahu

According to Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, both Israel's prime minister and the defense secretary committed crimes that violate the Rome Statute.

Ted Cruz- Marco Rubio

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On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested the arrest of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant. According to Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the ICC, both are responsible for at least seven crimes that violate the Rome Statute, such as the use of famine against civilians as a weapon of war and attacks against the civilian population. The news caused an international stir and, of course, strong reactions across the political spectrum.

“My office asserts that the evidence we have gathered, including interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, authenticated video, photographic and sound material, satellite images and statements of the alleged perpetrator group, demonstrate that Israel has intentionally and systematically deprived the civilian population in all parts of Gaza of objects essential for human survival,” Khan wrote in a statement, in which he also called for the request for the arrest of the three main leaders of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, Mohamed ‘Deif’ Diab Ibrahim al-Masri and Ismail Haniyeh.

“Shameful political maneuver”

The arrest called against Netanyahu crossed the political divide in the United States, as both Democrats and Republicans condemned the ICC.

One of them was President Joe Biden, who rejected the actions of Prosecutor Khan. “Whatever these orders may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. It is clear that Israel wants to do everything it can to ensure the protection of civilians. Let me be clear: contrary to the accusations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what is happening is not genocide. We reject it,” he said.

In the same vein was Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew. “Since arriving in Israel, I have worked every day with senior government officials working hard to provide humanitarian assistance in a war against an enemy hiding behind children, elderly people and women. This attempt at equivalency is nothing short of shameful. This is a sad day for the ICC,” he wrote on his X account.

According to reports, the president also described the initiative of the International Criminal Court as “scandalous.

In the Senate, Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke out, asserting that “the ICC is incinerating its credibility,” given that “it is disgracefully equating our democratic Israeli allies with genocidal terrorists and, in the process, far exceeding its authority, thus setting itself up to target Americans next authority, thus preparing to attack the Americans.”

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) published a joint statement condemning the prison request against Netanyahu and Gallant.

We are outraged by this shameful political move by the ICC, which seeks to undermine Israel as it defends itself after Hamas’s brutal October 7th terrorist attack. We’re deeply concerned about the impacts this decision will have on current hostage negotiations and the dangerous precedent this sets given that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel,” they noted.

Rubio and Rosen also joined together to ask the Democratic president to take action on the matter and for the United States to get involved to defend Israel.

“The president has broad powers to respond to these types of actions by the ICC, and now we join together to ask him to take quick and forceful measures in response to this attack against our democratic ally,” they said.

“The ICC has lost sight of the crucial distinction between the death squad and the bomber pilot”

Criticism of the ICC was not limited to politicians alone. The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal published an article trashing the arrest call against Israeli leaders, arguing that it “has lost sight of the crucial distinction between the death squad and the bomber pilot.

The writing aims to make it clear that a terrorist group and a sovereign State that is responding to aggression and trying to free the hostages cannot be judged with the same standard.

“Imagine some international body prosecuting Tojo and Roosevelt, or Hitler and Churchill, amid World War II,” they continued.

“ICC’s disregard for procedure exposes its bias”

The WSJ also found some flaws in the International Criminal Court’s accusations. First, they question the claim that Israel “starves civilians as a method of warfare,” based on Hamas reporting that 31 people died of starvation in the Gaza Strip.

“Israel has facilitated the entry of 542,570 tons of aid, and 28,255 aid trucks, in an unprecedented effort to supply an enemy’s civilians, even while Hamas steals the aid and tries to frustrate delivery. Israel has begged Egypt for two weeks to let in aid at Rafah, while Egypt refuses. Is this the behavior of an Israeli government bent on starving Gazans?” they argued from the Editorial Board.

In turn, the ICC affirms that Israel is “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.” For The Wall Street Journal, “another accusation that is backwards.”

Israel has done more to prevent civilian casualties in war than any military in history,” John Spencer, chair of urban warfare at West Point, has said, “setting a standard that will be both hard and potentially problematic to repeat. If nations can’t wage just wars, evil prevails, meaning the ICC isn’t giving a win only to Hamas,” he added.

Finally, they emphasized that the ICC lacks jurisdiction in both Israel and the United States, given that neither country signed the treaty that created the organization.

“To permit prosecutions of Israel, the court twisted its rules to summon a State of Palestine, with borders defined by fiat, which it could call a member state. (...) The ICC is supposed to intervene as a ‘court of last resort’ in the absence of national judiciaries able to hold leaders to account. Think of Hamas, whose courts are rubber stamps. Israel has an independent court that is renowned for its activist, antigovernment tilt,” the WSJ stated in its writing.