The ICC has disgraced itself

The ICC is seeking an arrest warrant against Netanyahu and Gallant
The ICC is seeking an arrest warrant against Netanyahu and Gallant - Reuters

The International Criminal Court’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant makes a mockery of both the institution and the laws it claims to uphold.

By applying for the arrest of the Israeli leadership alongside that of Hamas, the court has bolstered a supposed moral equivalence where none exists. Israel is engaged in an existential struggle against a foe which hides among the civilian population. IDF soldiers have gone to extraordinary lengths to minimise non-combatant casualties, often at greater risk to their own lives.

Hamas, in contrast, initiated this conflict by slaughtering innocent civilians on Israeli soil. Its leader, Yahya Sinwar, has made clear his intention to “wipe out” the world’s only Jewish state. Yet Karim Khan, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, has brought charges including “causing extermination” and “deliberately targeting civilians” against both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gallant.

Israel Katz, the Israeli foreign minister, was right to describe the ICC’s decision as “a historical disgrace”. The court has, in a single moment, wilfully sabotaged any right to be considered a fair and impartial arbitrator of justice, undoing decades of work.

This ideologically motivated ruling will not hasten the end of the conflict or expedite a ceasefire. As the UK Government has noted, the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel or Hamas. Only when the terrorist group has been destroyed, and surviving hostages freed, can there be peace. Yesterday’s development will serve only to discredit the ICC and further alienate Israel as it fights for its survival.