GOP Senators Vow to Ruin ICC If It Seeks Netanyahu’s Arrest: ‘We’ll Target You’

Andrew Harnik/Getty Images
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Twelve GOP senators vowed to go after the UN court that prosecutes individuals for war crimes if it issues an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in connection with his relentless military campaign in Gaza.

In a letter that was first reported by Zeteo, the Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, promised to target the International Criminal Court and its employees if it issues a warrant for Netanyahu’s arrest—an act several Israeli leaders believe is imminent.

“Target Israel and we will target you,” the letter reads. It threatens to use the 2002 Bush administration American Service-Members’ Protection Act—also known colloquially as “The Hague Invasion Act”—to compel the ICC to release any U.S. person or ally it detains.

“If you issue a warrant for the arrest of Israeli leadership, we will interpret this not only as a threat to Israel’s sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States,” it continues.

“We will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you and your families from the United States. You have been warned,” it finishes.

The letter is dated to April 24, one week before the ICC Prosecutor’s Office issued an unusual statement denouncing individuals who “threaten to retaliate against the Court or against Court personnel” in prosecutorial decisions. It warned that the mere threat of retaliation against the ICC could violate the Rome Statute which established the court.

“The Office insists that all attempts to impede, intimidate, or improperly influence its officials cease immediately,” the statement reads.

The Biden administration has been clear that it doesn’t support a possible ICC investigation into Netanyahu, although the White House’s allies were quick to condemn the GOP senators’ bully tactics.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) characterized his conservative colleagues’ behavior as befitting of a mob, not members of Congress.

“It is fine to express opposition to a possible judicial action, but it is absolutely wrong to interfere in a judicial matter by threatening judicial officers, their family members and their employees with retribution,” Van Hollen told Zeteo.

“This thuggery is something befitting the mafia, not U.S. senators.”

The 12 senators included party leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and current Trump VP hopeful Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

The ICC last year issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the Biden administration backed.

The court is also believed to be exploring arrest warrants for Hamas leaders, the New York Times reported.

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