Geneva - Amidst Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territory, Euro-Med Monitor expresses concern over frequent reports of political pressure exercised by Israel and its allies aimed at preventing the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague from issuing arrest warrants against senior Israeli security and political figures. 

Any attempts to undermine the ICC’s work, harm its integrity and independence, prioritise political interests over considerations of achieving international justice, and intervene on behalf of the perpetrator at the expense of the victim are appalling. Israeli officials’ incitement campaigns against the ICC to prevent it from acting against them are also condemned.

Information that the ICC may issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials suspected of crimes against Palestinians has sparked different reactions and legitimate concerns about the Court’s capacity to carry out these orders, bring those accused to trial, and punish them without caving in to foreign pressure intended to undermine its work and obstruct its measures.

Since there is good reason to believe that these officials committed crimes against Palestinians on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, starting on 13 June 2014—the date set by the State of Palestine’s referral request to the Court accepting its jurisdiction over the crimes committed in this territory since then—the arrest warrants threaten senior Israeli officials. These officials include Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevy.

According to the official Israeli Broadcasting Authority, Israel’s government is worried that the ICC may issue the arrest warrants against Netanyahu and senior state officials, including senior Israeli security and political figures.

Declaring, “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defence,” Netanyahu made remarks against the ICC a few days ago and reaffirmed that Israel would not stop its military’s assault on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli media has revealed that the Israeli government is holding secret meetings, consultations, and conversations with several of its allies, including the United State, United Kingdom, and Germany, in an attempt to prevent the issuance of the aforementionedarrest warrants and obstruct the Court’s work on the Palestine case.

Simultaneously, efforts have already been made by the US administration to stop the issuance of the orders. Two days ago, US House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) called on the ICC to “stand down on this immediately” in a post on X: “Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist organizations seeking to destroy it.”

As a first step toward achieving international justice for the Palestinian people, as well as partial compensation for the historical injustice from which it is still suffering and justice for its surviving victims, the ICCmust begin investigating the situation in Palestine. The Court needs to take the long-awaited legal measuresand issue arrest warrants for the Israeli officials involved in committing crimes against the Palestinians, prosecuting them and holding them accountable. This will end the impunity that Israel has long enjoyed, subjecting it to the same system of international law as other countries, and establishing a state of pressure and deterrent influence on it to prevent the commission of further crimes against the Palestinians as swiftly as possible.

The ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, must make legal decisions as soon as possible and follow the Court’s procedural rules and rules of evidence in accordance with the Rome Statute. This will help to ensure that those responsible for grave crimes that threaten international peace and security are held accountable, both criminally and civilly, for the benefit of the victims and the larger peace and justice of the world. Additionally, the Court will be able to fulfil its primary responsibility of reviving criminal justice, irrespective of the identity of the suspect and victim.

The international community, in all its forms, should work to support the Court’s work towards establishing justice in view of Israel’s ongoing failure to uphold its international obligations to prevent and stop serious crimes and grave violations committed against the Palestinian people over the past 76 years. These crimes and violations include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, while other nations are complicit, given their involvement in maintaining Israel’s illegal ongoing military occupation of Palestine by providing various forms of military, political, financial, and media support and assistance to Israel.

All nations are required to carry out their moral and legal duties; abide by any legitimate requests for arrest or extradition; and work together to apprehend anyIsraeli officials that orders are issued against; i.e. stop them from escaping and quickly turn them over to the ICC, in compliance with all applicable international laws and regulations.

States Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions are also required to carry out their obligations under these conventions, which include opening criminal investigations in their national courts using the principle of universal jurisdiction, and apprehending and prosecuting those who violate these agreements in compliance with applicable international law.