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'If They Do This To Israel, We're Next': US Senator Raises Concern Over ICC Arrest Warrant Request

22.05.2024 07:57

'What I hope to happen is that we level sanctions against the ICC for this outrage,' says Lindsey Graham.

US Senator Lindsey Graham raised concern Tuesday over the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's application for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, saying "if they do this to Israel, we're next."

"Hopefully, together, we will find a way to rest our displeasure with the ICC because if they do this to Israel, we're next," Graham said while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing.

"At the end of the day here, what I hope to happen is that we level sanctions against the ICC for this outrage to not only help our friends in Israel but protect ourselves over time," Graham added.

"I welcome working with you on that," Blinken responded when asked by Graham whether he would support sanctioning the ICC.

Blinken also told lawmakers Tuesday that the State Department will work with Congress to develop an "appropriate response" after ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan filed applications for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

"Sen. Risch, in short, let's look at it. We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response. I'm committed to doing that," Blinken said under questioning from Sen. Jim Risch, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Republican.

"As you say, the devil's in the details, so let's see what you got. And we can take it from there," he added.

Blinken's comments mark the strongest signal of a shift within the Biden administration after the White House on April 30 pushed back against threats from US lawmakers to retaliate against the Court's officials, their families and associates if the ICC issues arrest warrants for Israeli officials.

The Biden administration has maintained that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. While Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding document, Palestine acceded in 2015.

While the Biden administration has rejected the Court's jurisdiction over Israel because it is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, it lauded the ICC's decision to issue arrest warrants for senior Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin for Russia's war in Ukraine. Like Israel, Russia is also a non-signatory to the Rome Statute. -

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