Israel’s Prime Minister Condemns Bid To Arrest Him For War Crimes

Israel - Benjamin Netanyahu

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor accused Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others of war crimes.

Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan for seeking the Israeli prime minister’s arrest. Khan accused Netanyahu, Israel’s defense minister and three Hamas leaders of war crimes on Monday (May 20).

Netanyahu defended Israel’s devastating attacks on Gaza. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, eliciting outrage and demonstrations (including Macklemore’s protest song “Hind’s Hall”). Netanyahu attempted to spin the violence and chastised Khan.

“In the face of these horrors, Mr. Khan creates a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR and Hitler. What a travesty of justice. What a disgrace.”

ICC judges will decide whether or not to authorize arrest warrants for Netanyahu and others for war crimes. Israel does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction, raising questions about its ability to truly prosecute Netanyahu.

“The ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel and Mr. Khan’s actions will not stop us from waging our just war against Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “But Mr. Khan’s abuse of this authority will turn the ICC into nothing more than a farce. He’s doing something else. He is callously pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism that are raging across the world. Through this incendiary decision, Mr. Khan takes his place among the great antisemites in modern times. He now stands alongside those infamous German judges who donned their robes and upheld laws that denied the Jewish people their most basic rights and enabled the Nazis to perpetrate the worst crime in history.”

Israel’s conflict with Hamas began in October 2023. The war created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza as countless Palestinians continue to suffer.