ICC prosecutor’s move against Netanyahu and Gallant is ‘scandalous’, Israeli minister says

By Thomson Reuters May 20, 2024 | 8:38 AM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s foreign minister said on Monday a request by the International Criminal Court prosecutor for arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister and defence minister was “scandalous” and tantamount to attacking the victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 raid.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu, Gallant and three leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas over alleged war crimes. A panel of pre-trial judges will determine whether the evidence supports his request.

Foreign minister Israel Katz said he had opened a special war room within the foreign ministry to counteract the ICC prosecutor’s move.

No force in the world would prevent Israel bringing back from Gaza hostages who were seized in Israel by Hamas-led gunmen on Oct. 7 and toppling the Palestinian militant group.

Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, said the war room would work to combat the move, which he said be believed was aimed at tying Israel’s hands and preventing it from exercising its right to self-defence.

“I intend to speak with foreign ministers of leading countries around the world to urge them to oppose the prosecutor’s decision and declare that even if warrants are issued, they do not intend to enforce them against Israeli leaders,” Katz said.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel, editing by Ed Osmond)