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Berlin's compliance with potential ICC arrest warrant for Netanyahu sparks Israeli outrage

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak to reporters in Tel Aviv on Oct. 17, 2023. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel criticized the German government on Thursday after its spokesman announced it would comply with a potential International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest order against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

“Of course. Yes, we abide by the law,” Germany's spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said when asked if Germany would arrest Netanyahu and Gallant should the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue warrants for their arrest.

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced on Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders for “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman criticized Germany's statement by contrasting it with the robust support for Israel displayed by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a solidarity visit to Israel last year, shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

Hyman told FOX News that Hamas seeks "a genocide against the Jews and that many "need to check their moral compass and be on the right side of history.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told FOX News Digital he was astounded by the statement.

“It is beyond comprehension that any German government would arrest the democratically elected PM of the Jewish state on blood libel lies. It should be arresting all the antisemites attacking Jews on the streets of its nation. Never, never again,” Cooper said.

Netanyahu asserted the ICC prosecutor’s actions were examples of “what the new antisemitism looks like.”

“He’s also pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism that are spreading around the world. He is attacking the one and only Jewish state and trying to handcuff us,” Netanyahu argued.

Norway also stated that it would comply with the ICC and arrest Netanyahu if he were to travel there.

“If they or any Hamas leaders arrive in Norway, according to international law, we are obligated to arrest them. The same principle applies to all European countries, except Turkey,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Norwegian TV 2.

In addition to Norway and Germany, France would reportedly support the ICC prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday about Khan’s announcement.

“As far as Israel is concerned, it will be up to the court's pre-trial chamber to decide whether to issue these warrants, after examining the evidence put forward by the prosecutor," the ministry said.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib has also welcomed the ICC prosecutor’s decision.

“The request submitted by the Court’s Prosecutor, Karim Khan, for arrest warrants against both Hamas and Israeli officials is an important step in the investigation of the situation in Palestine,” she posted on 𝕏.

“Belgium will continue to support the essential work of international justice to ensure that those responsible for all crimes are held accountable.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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