An Important Step Toward Justice: ICC Seeks Arrest Warrant For Netanyahu – OpEd


In response to the International Criminal Court’s announcement that it is seeking warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Secretary Yoav Gallant, the Center for Constitutional Rights – which has represented victims in the ICC’s Palestine investigation and is challenging the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza – released the following statement: 

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) took an important step toward justice yesterday when he announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Secretary Yoav Gallant for the war crimes and crimes against humanity, including extermination and/or murder, persecution, and using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. President Biden called the move “outrageous” and his administration appears to be aligning itself with extremist members of Congress, who have threatened the ICC Prosecutor with sanctions, saying, “Target Israel and we will target you.” This would mark a reversal for President Biden, who, early in his term, removed sanctions that Trump had placed on ICC personnel. 

What is “outrageous” is Israel’s U.S.-enabled, decades-long impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians, which has emboldened it to carry out its wholesale assault against 2.2 million people in Gaza, while increasing attacks and land-grabs in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Indeed, long before its genocidal campaign in Gaza, there was voluminous evidence of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2021, the ICC launched an investigation into all such crimes committed since June 13, 2014 – the start date of its 51-day assault on Gaza dubbed  “Operation Protective Edge.” Israel’s wanton criminality and brutality over the last seven plus months – which has killed more than 35,000 people, displaced 1.7 million, and caused a famine – makes ICC action all the more urgent. 

The Biden administration’s incessant efforts to derail international accountability in the case of Palestine only deepen its complicity in Israel’s crimes. The administration should cooperate with, not undermine, this international accountability effort – as it has in the case of Russia’s war on Ukraine – and end its support for Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza.  

The Center for Constitutional Rights

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach.

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