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'We reject it with disgust' - Israeli Knesset condemns ICC warrants with large majority

Knesset unites to sign historic bipartisan statement against ICC charges, except for Labor and Arab parties

A discussion and a vote on the state budget at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, May 23, 2023 (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

Israeli Members of Knesset from across the political spectrum, including most of the opposition, sharply condemned the request for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders the International Criminal Court issued on Monday.

“We reject it with disgust,” declared 106 of Israel's 120 MKs in a statement supported by all parties except the Arab parties Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am, and the Labor party.

“The State of Israel is in the midst of a just war against a criminal terrorist organization,” the statement read.

“The IDF is the most moral army in the world. Our heroic soldiers fight with unsurpassed courage and morality, following international law, as no other army has ever done.”

“The scandalous comparison by the prosecutor in The Hague between the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas is an indelible historical crime and a clear expression of anti-Semitism. We reject it with disgust.”

“80 years after the Holocaust, no one will prevent the Jewish state from defending itself,” the statement closed.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, announced on Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, (better known as Mohammed Deif), and Hamas General Ismail Haniyeh, as well as Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Netanyahu responded to the announcement with a video statement on Monday evening.

"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!"

Numerous Israeli leaders, even those who are strong critics of Netanyahu, condemned the announcement.

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, who recently gave Prime Minister Netanyahu an ultimatum to present a ‘day after’ plan for Gaza by June 8 or face his departure from the War Cabinet, called Khan’s decision “moral blindness.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who has engaged in verbal attacks with Netanyahu and his government coalition members even on Monday, said the call to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant represents “a complete moral failure.”

The Hostage Families Forum, which has accused Netanyahu of preventing a hostage deal, welcomed “the warrants against senior Hamas officials” but rejected drawing parallels “between Israel’s leadership and the murderers of Hamas.”

The Labor party later justified its decision to abstain from the statement with a quote by Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

“The Labor party is a Zionist party fighting for the State of Israel and its security and against Netanyahu and his corrupt and destructive rule,” the party further stated.

“As soon as it was published, the Knesset Member Merav Michaeli, who leads Labor, spoke against the scandalous and dangerous statement of the prosecutor at The Hague.

Therefore, the Labor party will continue to defend the State of Israel, in every arena, and will not participate in campaigns designed to strengthen Netanyahu and his rule.”

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

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