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Germany would 'arrest Netanyahu' if ICC issues warrant

Germany would 'arrest Netanyahu' if ICC issues warrant
2 min read
23 May, 2024
Berlin said it would 'abide by the law' after ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said he would seek an arrest warrant for Netanyahu.
Olaf Schulz said that Germany would 'of course' abide by a potential ICC arrest warrant for Netanyahu, despite its backing for Israel [Getty/file photo]

Germany said it would detain Benjamin Netanyahu if he were to set foot on German soil and if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for the Israeli prime minister over his role in the deadly war on Gaza, which has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians.

A spokesperson for Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would "of course" execute a potential ICC warrant against Netanyahu, adding that Berlin "would abide by the law" of the ICC, in a statement made on Wednesday.

German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit added that Germany was a "fundamental" supporter of the ICC.

On Monday, Karim Khan, the ICC’s prosecutor, requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant over their actions in the country’s military assault on Gaza, ongoing for over seven months.

The prosecutor also sought such warrants for Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh.

British-born Khan said that he believes that Israeli and Palestinian figures are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the devastated Gaza Strip.

Following the announcement, Germany's foreign ministry said it "respects the independence and procedures" of the ICC. 

However, Berlin criticised the simultaneous publication of the charges against the Israeli and Hamas leaders, saying the move "created the incorrect impression of equivalency".

Germany has staunchly supported Israel throughout the latter's indiscriminate war on Gaza, which has killed over 35,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The German opposition CDU party slammed the chancellery's statement, calling it "scandalous", reported The Times.

Germany has provided weapons to Israel and cracked down on pro-Palestinian activism and Palestinian figures in recent months.

British-Palestinian surgeon, Ghassan Abu Sittah, was barred from entering the country in April before he was due to speak at the Palestine Congress.

In April, German police violently dispersed a protest camp outside the Chancellery building after activists were subject to daily harassment by the police and a ban on speaking languages other than German and English. 

On Tuesday, Israel’s Ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, said Germany had "a responsibility to readjust" Khan's "moral compass" in a social media post, following the prosecutor's decision to request the arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 35,800 Palestinians and wounded 80,000 others. The bombardment campaign has plunged the Strip into a deep humanitarian crisis.