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Biden slams 'outrageous' ICC arrest bid for Israeli leaders

Biden slams 'outrageous' ICC arrest bid for Israeli leaders
2 min read
US President Joe Biden slammed the ICC's application to issue arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, calling the move 'outrageous'.
President Joe Biden called the ICC's arrest bid as 'outrageous' [GETTY]

US President Joe Biden on Monday slammed the International Criminal Court prosecutor's application for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the move "outrageous".

"And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence - none - between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security." Biden said in a statement.

His top aide, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, also criticised the move, raising questions over the court's jurisdiction and process in making this application. He added that it could jeopardise negotiations to achieve a hostage deal and a ceasefire.

"Fundamentally, this decision does nothing to help, and could jeopardise, ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would get hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in," Blinken said.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said he had requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

Khan said in a statement issued after over seven months of war on Gaza that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the five men "bear criminal responsibility" for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Blinken said Israel was prepared to cooperate with the court and that the prosecutor was scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week, but instead, he went on cable television to announce the charges.

"These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation," Blinken said.

In 2020, US President Donald Trump's administration accused the ICC of infringing on US national sovereignty when it authorised an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan. The US targeted court staff, including then-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, with asset freezes and travel bans.

Biden's administration lifted those sanctions in April 2021.