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UK Delays ICC Decision on Arrest Warrants For Israeli Officials

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision over potential arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will be delayed for weeks after the UK requested a review by the court on whether it has jurisdiction over Israeli citizens.The request by the UK tracks closely with arguments made by the Israeli government that international agreements take precedence over the ICC. The Oslo Accords stipulated that the Palestinian Authority has no criminal jurisdiction over Israelis. Since the Palestinian Authority requested that the ICC open an investigation, Israel argues that it violated the agreement.The UK holds a special “friend of the court” status that enabled them to issue the request. Israel is unable to because it is not a member of the court. Yedioth Ahronoth, the Israeli paper who first reported on the UK request said that “it is believed that the UK’s move was made at Israel’s request,” and speculated that other countries are being recruited to support the UK review.The UK submitted the request on July 10, the court gave the country until July 12 to file any comments. That means the arrest warrants, if they come at all, will be delayed until at least then and likely longer. The decision will be made by a three-judge panel. If they rule that the court does not have jurisdiction over Israeli citizens, the court would be unable to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant or any other Israeli official.WorldSpain Joins South Africa’s Genocide Lawsuit Against Israel – ICJ28 June, 19:24 GMTIn May, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant and three Hamas leaders –Yahya Sinwar, Mohammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh– for crimes against humanity. If the court rules in favor of Israel, the warrants for the Hamas leaders could still go forward because they are Palestinian.The Israeli government is facing significant international pressure to halt its campaign in Gaza. In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a preliminary ruling that Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and ordered it to take measures to prevent genocide. In May, it ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Gaza, but Israel ignored the order. Thirteen countries have joined that case.According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, more than 37,800 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and at least another 10,000 are missing and presumed dead, a total number that represents more than 2.3% of the Gazan population as of 2020. Another 4.2% of the population has been injured.Israel launched its attacks on Gaza after a surprise attack by Hamas resulted in the deaths of 1,189 Israelis and the capture of around 240 more.

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