Israeli officials concerned over ICC arrest warrants

TEL AVIV: Israeli officials have appeared to be increasingly concerned that the International Criminal Court may issue arrest warrants against the country’s leaders, as international pressure mounts over its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight and into Monday killed at least 22 people, including six women and five children, one of whom was just 5 days old, according to hospital records and an Associated Press reporter.
The ICC launched a probe three years ago into possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants going back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, but it has given no indication such warrants are imminent. There was no comment from the court on Monday.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that it had informed Israeli missions of “rumours” that warrants might be issued against senior political and military officials. It was not clear what sparked the Israeli concerns.“We expect the court to prevent the issuance of arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, adding that such warrants would “provide a morale boost” to Hamas and other militant groups.
A series of Israeli announcements in recent days about allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza meanwhile appears to be aimed in part at heading off possible ICC action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel “will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defence.”“The threat to seize the soldiers and officials of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is outrageous. We will not bow to it,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. It was not clear what prompted the post.The ICC investigation covers allegations going back to the 2014 war in Gaza as well as Israel’s construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territory that the Palestinians want for a future state.

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