Congress preparing for ‘disgraceful’ ICC warrants targeting Israel

Republican and Democratic lawmakers working to pressure ICC to stop targeting Israel, warn of sanctions against officials should the court do so anyway.

By World Israel News Staff

The U.S. Congress is readying plans to impose consequences upon International Criminal Court (ICC) officials, as part of an effort aimed at preventing the international body from filing arrest warrants against Israeli political and military leaders over the military campaign in Gaza.

Calling reports about impending warrants “disgraceful” and “lawless,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) warned that warrants issued against Israeli officials, could potentially set a dangerous precedent for the U.S.

Israel does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction, so warrants from the court would indicate that the body is acting as a supra-legal authority.

“If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel,” Johnson said in a media statement.

He urged the Biden administration to use “every available” tool at its disposal to “immediately and unequivocally demand that the ICC stand down.”

According to an Axios report, the warrants could target Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Israeli army Chief-of-Staff Herzi HaLevi for alleged war crimes in the Strip.

Notably, the ICC investigation isn’t limited to the Swords of Iron Conflict. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is reportedly looking at whether Israeli leader’s decisions during the Tzuk Eitan War in 2014 could be grounds for warrants.

Several Republican lawmakers told Axios that there is an intense behind-the-scenes effort to protect Israel from being targeted by the ICC, but that plans are being made should the warrants be issued.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said that the U.S. could withdraw from the Rome Statue, the measure which established the ICC, as a response.

Speaking to Axios, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) said that Congress could pass a motion which would levy harsh sanctions against ICC officials if they issue arrest warrants for Israeli officials.

“We hope it doesn’t come to that,” he said.