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17 April 2024, Israel, Jerusalem: Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Israel's Prime Minister, welcomes Annalena Baerbock (L), Germany's Foreign Minister, ahead of a joint meeting. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images)

International

PMO Holds Emergency Debate Over ICC Gaza Arrest Warrant Fears

Israel is becoming increasingly apprehensive about potential arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli political and military leaders for alleged breaches of international law in Gaza.

According to a report, the Prime Minister’s Office convened an urgent meeting with three ministers and several government legal experts to devise a strategy to fend off the anticipated warrants.

The urgency of the meeting was fueled by information suggesting that these warrants could be issued imminently. Netanyahu raised this concern during recent discussions with Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The participants in Tuesday’s meeting, including Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, decided that Israel would seek assistance from influential international diplomatic circles to counteract these efforts.

Jerusalem is particularly worried that arrest warrants may be sought on the grounds of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Countries accusing Israel of violating international law and the 4th Geneva Convention are believed to be spearheading this initiative.

The fear of such warrants underscores Israel’s broader apprehension about the ICC’s jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, rejects its jurisdiction over the matter, arguing that the Palestinian Authority is not a sovereign state and therefore cannot grant the ICC jurisdiction.

The potential issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders would mark a significant escalation in the legal and diplomatic challenges faced by Israel in the international arena. Jerusalem is thus mobilizing diplomatic efforts to mitigate the perceived threat posed by the ICC’s actions.

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