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Israeli officials believe that court in Hague prepares orders for their arrest

Israeli officials believe that court in Hague prepares orders for their arrest Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu (photo: Getty Images)

Israeli officials increasingly believe that the International Criminal Court is preparing to issue arrest warrants for high-ranking government officials on charges related to the conflict with Hamas. The court is also reportedly considering arrest warrants for Hamas leaders, reports The New York Times.

The New York Times received this information from five Israeli and foreign officials.

According to two of them, if the court continues its investigation into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories initiated in 2021, Israeli officials could potentially be accused of obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and of responding too harshly to Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7.

Israeli officials, concerned about the potential consequences, believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among those who could be named in the warrant.

Sources speaking to the publication said they do not know at what stage the process is currently.

Reaction in the ICC and the Israeli government

The investigation into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories was initiated by the International Criminal Court in March 2021. It pertains to events in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip starting from 2014.

Karim Khan, the court’s chief prosecutor, recently confirmed that his team is investigating incidents during the conflict, but his office declined to comment on the NYT article, stating that they do not react to assumptions in media reports.

Netanyahu's office has also not commented, but on Friday, the prime minister stated on social media that any I.C.C. intervention would create a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and officials of all democratic countries fighting cruel terrorism and unjustified aggression.

Netanyahu did not explain the reason for his statement but said, "Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense."

Criticism of Israel from the US

A few days ago, the US State Department released its annual report, noting a deterioration in the human rights situation due to the war in the Gaza Strip. However, the current administration has not yet imposed sanctions on Israel for the violations identified.

Before this, the NYT reported that the US was considering imposing sanctions on the Israeli army battalion Nahal Brigade and several other units accused of human rights violations during operations in the West Bank.