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US House seeks to sanction ICC after seeking warrant for Israel’s Netanyahu

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The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill aiming to sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to its prosecutor’s efforts to seek arrest warrants for top Israeli officials for alleged war crimes in Gaza. The bill, known as the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, would restrict US entry and property transactions for ICC officials involved in the request for arrest warrants. This symbolic vote highlights the unconditional support for Israel among US lawmakers, with the majority of both main parties backing the bill.

The legislation faces several hurdles before any sanctions could be enforced. Despite US President Joe Biden expressing concerns about the arrest warrants, he strongly opposes sanctions against the ICC, deeming them as going too far. The proposal is unlikely to pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. The final hurdle would be Biden’s potential veto, as his opposition to the sanctions is clear. The bill’s fate remains uncertain as it moves through the legislative process.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan recently announced that he had reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu, Gallant, and three Hamas leaders bear criminal responsibility for alleged war crimes. Netanyahu denounced the decision as absurd, stating that it aimed to target all of Israel. Neither Israel nor the US are ICC members, so any warrants issued by its judges will need approval from its 124 member states. Despite the unlikely passage of the US measures, the strong bipartisan support in the House reflects ongoing unconditional backing for Israel amidst international criticism over its actions in Gaza.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson emphasized the US’s firm support for Israel and its rejection of baseless arrest warrants issued by international bureaucrats. The State Department echoed Biden’s opposition to sanctions against the ICC, citing it as inappropriate at the time. Netanyahu expressed surprise and disappointment at this stance, emphasizing Israel’s determination to achieve its goals in the conflict. While Biden proposed a new peace roadmap and ceasefire, Netanyahu remains committed to advancing Israel’s objectives through the ongoing conflict.

In conclusion, the US House of Representatives’ approval of legislation sanctioning the ICC for issuing arrest warrants against Israeli officials highlights the strong support for Israel among US lawmakers. Despite facing obstacles in the Senate and potential veto from the White House, the bill reflects the US’s unwavering backing for Israel amidst international criticism. The ICC’s actions and the US response underscore the complexities of the conflict in Gaza and the differing perspectives on accountability and justice. As the situation continues to evolve, the role of international institutions and US policy towards the conflict will shape the future of the region.

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