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The International Criminal Court (ICC) is considering issuing arrest warrants for three senior Hamas leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. This move has sparked outrage from Israeli leaders, with Netanyahu condemning the comparison of Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and calling the announcement a form of anti-Semitism. US President Joe Biden also criticized the decision, stating that there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. The ICC’s jurisdiction in this case is being questioned due to Israel not being a signatory to the Rome Statute that founded the court.

The ICC announcement has led to a mixed reaction in Israel, with some believing that an arrest warrant could help expedite the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Others argue that there is no symmetry between leaders of a terror organization and heads of state elected democratically. In Gaza, Palestinians are calling for decisive international resolutions to address the ongoing conflicts and hardships faced by civilians. The ICC has accused Netanyahu of using starvation as a warfare method and intentionally directing attacks against civilians as war crimes. The ICC judges will now review the evidence presented before deciding on issuing arrest warrants.

The ICC relies on member states for enforcement, as seen when Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled a trip to South Africa to avoid arrest by the ICC on war crimes charges. Israel was referred to the ICC by five member states, leading to the current investigation into possible crimes against humanity and war crimes. The fact that Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute is an issue being raised regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction in this case. The US State Department has also questioned the ICC’s authority in the matter.

The Israeli government has expressed outrage over the ICC’s decision, claiming that there is no comparison between Hamas and the IDF, which is described as the most moral army in the world. Israeli President Isaac Herzog labeled the move as outrageous and criticized it as a unilateral political step that emboldens terrorists globally. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has been called out by Israeli leaders for daring to compare the actions of Hamas with those of the IDF. The tension between Israel and the ICC adds to the ongoing conflicts and challenges faced by both Israeli and Palestinian communities.

The announcement by the ICC has led to protests in Tel Aviv, where citizens are demanding more action from the government to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas. There are concerns that Netanyahu is prolonging the conflict to maintain his grip on power, leading to calls for resolutions and decisive actions to address the situation. The reaction among Palestinians in central Gaza has been muted, with calls for fairness and justice in resolving the conflicts and hardships faced by civilians in the region. The ICC judges will have the final say on whether arrest warrants will be issued, based on the evidence presented regarding the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflicts.

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