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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Benjamin Netanyahu Under Fire: The ICC's Criminal Case Against Israel’s Top Civilian and Military Leadership

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on April 29, 2024

IMAGE: A Palestinian mother mourns the death her child, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike. These strikes have killed over 13,000 Palestine babies and children, with no end in sight.

An Editorial Opinion


The International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli civilian and military leaders over their actions in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war. Those who are expected to be named in the arrest warrants are: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi.


The ICC, which is located in The Hague, Netherlands, prosecutes those who are formally accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression.


The Israel-Hamas War


The Israel-Hamas war in Gaza was sparked by an October 7, 2023, raid into southern Israel in which Hamas and other militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says Hamas militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.


To date, the war has killed at least 34,049 Palestinians and wounded another 76,901, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The ministry also says at least two-thirds of the dead were innocent babies, children, women, and men.


Israel claims it has killed over 13,000 Hamas fighters. If this claim is true, the remaining 21,000 babies, children, men, and women who were killed must be deemed innocent Palestinians or collateral damage.

IMAGE: The bodies of Palestinian children who were killed by Israeli sir strikes in Gaza are carried for burial.

Prosecuting Alleged Israeli War Criminals


On December 6, 2023, Karim Ahmad Khan, the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, confirmed that his office was investigating the situation in Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem, including Israeli military actions in the war that began on October 7, 2023.


Separately, on December 29, 2023, the Republic of South Africa filed a complaint against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging (located in The Hague) that Israel had committed and was committing genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, contravening the Genocide Convention, including what South Africa described as Israel's 75-year apartheid, 56-year occupation, and 16-year blockade of the Strip. This complaint is pending investigation.


For sticky geopolitical and foreign affairs reasons, the United States and Israel did not join the 124 nations that signed on to the ICC or the 193 countries that are members of the ICJ.


Based upon knowledgeable sources, Karim Ahmad Khan is expected to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and top civilian and military leaders of Israel. The warrants could be issued as early as this week.


Khan is also expected to issue arrest warrants for top Hamas leaders.


Alleged war criminals who are subject to ICC arrest warrants are expected to surrender themselves to the Court. If they refuse to surrender, they must avoid traveling to signatory countries that are legally obligated to extradite them to stand trial in The Hague for their war crimes.


To date, the best-known ICC-designated war criminal is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who earned his arrest warrant by engaging in alleged war crimes against the people of Ukraine.


Epilogue


Israel knows how to retaliate for the October 7th Hamas attack with precision and a minimal loss of innocent life. The Israelis have proven experience in tracking down terrorists and killing them. "Operation Wrath of God" is a clear example of how Israel has punished terrorists in the past. "Operation Wrath of God," which ran from 1972 to 1979, was dramatized in the Steven Spielberg film "Munich" (2005).


Israel is no longer engaged in legitimate acts of national defense in response to the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks. Today, Israel is perpetuating war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza.


The United States, which vehemently condemns Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine, is a willing accomplice to Benjamin Netanyahu’s war crimes in Gaza. This glaring display of “in-your-face” foreign relations hypocrisy is an affront to ordinary Americans of reasonable intelligence.


Thankfully, college students across the nation have become America's voice of conscience against Israel's war crimes, crimes against humanity, and campaign of genocide in Gaza. Their protests and on-campus encampments are growing.


Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and the members of Congress who voted to heap $17.18 billion in military aid upon Israel last week to fuel its war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide are tolerating this criminal activity solely because they can get campaign donations from AIPAC and other Jewish special interest groups for doing so.


Any American politician, from Joe Biden on down, who rationalizes and normalizes Israel's war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Gaza in exchange for a campaign contribution is not fit to serve in public office.


So that we are clear, Israel's right to national defense does not include a right to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and/or genocide. Benjamin Netanyahu is a corrupt, ruthless "thug," and he must be dealt with accordingly.

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