Blinken: White House ready to collaborate with Congress in imposing sanctions on the ICC for daring to call for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders

 Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed the readiness of the administration of President Joe Biden to collaborate with Congress in imposing sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials following their pursuit of arrest warrants against Israeli officials.

This comes after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called on Blinken to support sanctions against the ICC, emphasizing the need for tangible actions. Blinken responded by denouncing the ICC's decision as "profoundly wrong-headed," warning of its potential impact on reaching a hostage deal. Blinken also affirmed the administration's willingness to engage in bipartisan efforts to sanction the ICC.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced arrest warrants on May 20 for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, Hamas Chief in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar, Hamas Chairman of the Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas Commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades Mohammed Deif. Khan cited reasonable grounds to believe that these five individuals are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

Biden strongly criticized the ICC's issuing of arrest warrants, rejecting the perceived equivalence between Netanyahu's government and Hamas. He emphasized Israel's commitment to civilian protection and clarified during a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month that the situation does not amount to genocide.

Despite ongoing criticism, the U.S. has continued to support Israel militarily. The White House informed Congress of plans for a new $1 billion weapons package for Israel, despite withholding a previous shipment following concerns over aggressions against Rafah. 

Israeli allies grapple with how to be supportive of both Israel and the ICC

Khan's move has stirred a unique diplomatic quandary among U.S. allies over how to balance support for both Israel and the ICC.

The action, a groundbreaking attempt to pursue a sitting, Western-backed head of state, awaits review by ICC judges, who hold the power to amend, reject or approve it. Yet, his entry into the globally divisive Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led some of the ICC's staunch supporters to question their allegiances.

Ahead of Khan's announcement, prosecutors had briefed select capitals, including Paris, London and Berlin, facilitating coordinated reactions from governments. However, many have refrained from stating their response should warrants be issued against Israeli leaders, citing the delicate balancing act required.

A German government official, speaking anonymously, acknowledged the complexity of the situation, highlighting Berlin's dual commitment to Israel's security and to supporting the independence of the ICC and its prosecutors.

In Europe, divisions over Khan's decision underscore deeper international rifts regarding the quest of Palestinians for statehood. This divide was highlighted when several countries – Ireland, Norway and Spain – announced their intention to recognize a Palestinian state.

All 27 European Union countries are ICC members, with EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell emphasizing their obligation to uphold the court's decisions. However, political disparities among European powers regarding the conflict and their commitment to international justice have come to the fore.

While some countries, such as Britain, an ICC member since 2001, have expressed reservations about potential ICC warrants for Israelis, others have emphasized the importance of respecting the ICC's independence and impartiality.

Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani opposed equating Hamas' actions with the response of a democratically elected government, warning that ICC warrants could fuel antisemitism. Meanwhile, Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheál Martin emphasized the need to respect the ICC's independence, while Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala condemned the prosecutor's request as appalling and unacceptable.

France reiterated its support for the ICC and its fight against impunity, emphasizing the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law. Spain welcomed the ICC prosecutor's request, asserting the application of international law to all parties involved.

Blinken: White House ready to collaborate with Congress in imposing sanctions on the ICC for daring to call for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders Blinken: White House ready to collaborate with Congress in imposing sanctions on the ICC for daring to call for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders Reviewed by Your Destination on May 28, 2024 Rating: 5

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