‘We Will Retaliate’ – Israel Threatens PA over ICC Arrest Warrants


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

According to Axios, if such warrants are issued, Israel may take “retaliatory steps against the Palestinian Authority”.

The Israeli government has issued a warning to the Biden administration regarding potential arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israeli leaders the American news website Axios reported on Wednesday, citing Israeli and US officials.

According to Axios, if such warrants are issued, Israel may take “retaliatory steps against the Palestinian Authority, that could lead to its collapse”.

Israeli media has recently reported increasing concerns over the possibility that the ICC will issue arrest warrants for top Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

‘Under My Leadership’ – Netanyahu Says ICC Decisions Will Not Affect Israel’s Actions

The ICC, which was already investigating possible war crimes in Palestine dating back to the 2014 war, has extended the probe to the ongoing war on Gaza.

Axios quoted two Israeli officials as saying that “over the last few weeks, Israel has told the US that it has information suggesting Palestinian Authority officials are pressing the ICC prosecutor to issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders”.

A senior official reportedly stressed that “the threat of ICC arrest warrants is real and stressed if such a scenario happens the Israeli cabinet would likely make an official decision to punish the Palestinian Authority”.

Axios reported that the White House, Netanyahu’s office and the Palestinian Authority declined to comment.

Washington’s Opposition

US President Joe Biden has reiterated that the Washington opposes an ICC investigation against Israeli leaders.

“We are quietly encouraging the ICC no to do it. It will blow up everything. Israel will retaliate against the Palestinian Authority,” a US official was quoted as saying.

The official also reportedly stated that “the Biden administration doesn’t think the move is as imminent as the Israelis think.”

‘Unnaturally Afraid’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed deep concern over the possibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing an arrest warrant for him and other high-ranking officials, according to Israeli media.

This comes amid Israeli media reports of the potential issuance of arrest warrants by the ICC against Netanyahu and other Israeli political and military leaders – such as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi – for alleged violations of international law in the ongoing assault of the Gaza Strip.

‘Unnaturally Afraid’ – Netanyahu Worried ICC Could Issue Arrest Warrants

The Israeli newspaper Maariv cited unnamed sources as saying that Netanyahu is “unnaturally afraid and worried” about the prospect of facing an ICC arrest warrant in The Hague.

In recent days, according to the report, Netanyahu has reached out to various international leaders and officials, including US President Joe Biden, in an effort to prevent the issuance of such a warrant.

On Friday, Netanyahu said any decisions made by the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, but would however “set a dangerous precedent.”

“Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense,” he wrote on X.

Netanyahu’s Lifeline

The Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed Israeli diplomatic source as saying that the ICC “could not act against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top IDF brass without overt or tactic support from the United States”.

“Where is Biden? Why is he quiet while Israel will potentially be thrown under the bus?” the source reportedly said.

A Wall Street Journal editorial urged on Saturday the US and the UK to intervene.

“Mr. Khan’s candidacy was championed by his native Britain and supported by the U.S., so both countries may have influence if they warn Mr. Khan of what will happen if he proceeds,” the editorial said.

‘Absurd Position’ – Russia Slams US Hypocrisy over ICC, Israel

“If they don’t, President Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak risk finding Americans and Britons next under the gun” the editorial continued.

Netanyahu said on Friday that any ICC decisions would not affect Israel’s actions but would set a dangerous precedent.

Israeli media have reported that officials are worried that the Court could issue arrest warrants against Netanyahu and other top officials for alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,568 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,765 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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