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Multiple US lawmakers have condemned the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to pursue arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials accused of war crimes in Gaza, with some Republicans threatening repercussions against the tribunal.

The reaction in Washington, DC, where support for Israel is strong among both Democrats and Republicans, was swift. Republican Senator Tom Cotton labeled the ICC’s actions as a “farce” and warned Khan and his associates would never “set foot again in the United States.” Republican Congressman Anthony D’Esposito echoed these sentiments, threatening “serious consequences” if the ICC proceeded. Similarly, Representative Brian Mast emphasized that while the US does not recognize the ICC, the court would face significant repercussions for targeting US allies.

Republican legislators had previously cautioned Khan against targeting Israeli officials, threatening severe sanctions. In a public letter, signed by prominent Republicans like Senators Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz, they warned of actions to end US support for the ICC and impose sanctions on its officials if the arrest warrants were pursued.

While President Joe Biden was less aggressive, he still described the move by ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan as “outrageous.” Khan, who is seeking warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three senior Hamas officials, accusing them of crimes against humanity, including intentional attacks on civilians and using starvation as a weapon of war.

Digging Deeper: 
Both the US and Israel are not parties to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, and do not recognize its jurisdiction. Conversely, Palestine, as a nonmember observer state at the United Nations, accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2015, allowing the court to investigate atrocities in the occupied Palestinian territories.


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