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International Criminal Court top prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Netanyahu and others

THE International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said today that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others over actions taken in Gaza.

Karim Khan said that he believes Mr Netanyahu, his Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Yehia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A panel of three judges will consider his evidence and determine whether to issue the warrants and allow a case to proceed, which could take weeks or months.

Israel is not a member of the court so the country’s leaders do not face any immediate risk of prosecution if the warrants are issued.

But the move will help pressure other member states to issue arrests and make it difficult for Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gallant to travel abroad.

Israeli Foreign Minister said Mr Khan’s decision is “a historic disgrace that will be remembered forever.”

He said he would form a special committee to fight back against any such action and would work with world leaders to ensure that any such warrants are not enforced on Israel’s leaders.

Hamas also denounced the decision, saying in a statement that the prosecutor was trying to “equate the victim with the executioner.”

It said it has the right to resist Israeli occupation, including “armed resistance.”

Israel’s war cabinet member and former military chief Benny Gantz repeated claims that Israel fights with “one of the strictest” moral codes, respects international law and has a robust judiciary capable of investigating itself.

Earlier this year, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel could be breaking international law with its actions amounting to genocide, with the case by South Africa pending.

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed over 35,000 people, at least half of them women and children, and displayed roughly 80 per cent of the population — leaving hundreds of thousands on the brink of starvation.

Mr Khan said in a statement that “the effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare, together with other attacks and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza, are acute, visible and widely known.”

“They include malnutrition, dehydration, profound suffering and an increasing number of deaths among the Palestinian population, including babies, other children, and women,” he said.

At least 27 people, mostly children, were killed in Israel’s latest attack in central Gaza on Sunday.

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