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‘israeli’ impunity ends at last with ICC arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant

Alameen Templeton

It looks like “israel” is going to held legally accountable for the first time in its 76-year history, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing arrest warrants over the Gaza genocide Monday.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, are being charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for their stewardship of the genocide unfolding murderously in Gaza.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan also issued warrants for Hamas leaders – Gaza boss Yahya Sinwar, Al Qassam Brigades commander Mohammad Diab Ibrahim Al Masri and political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh – in connection with their involvement in Al Aqsa Flood on October 7 last year.

“Today we once again underline that international law and the laws of armed conflict apply to all. No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader – no one – can act with impunity.

“Nothing can justify wilfully depriving human beings, including so many women and children, the basic necessities required for life. Nothing can justify the taking of hostages or the targeting of civilians,” Khan said.

Both sides are being charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, although the Hamas trio is inexplicably charged with more crimes than the “Israelis” in the dock.

The Palestinians are charged with –

  • Extermination as a crime against humanity;
  • Murder as a crime against humanity;
  • Taking hostages as a war crime;
  • Rape and other acts of sexual violence as crimes against humanity in the context of captivity;
  • Torture as a crime against humanity, in the context of captivity;
  • Other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, in the context of captivity;
  • Cruel treatment as a war crime, in the context of captivity; and
  • Outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime, in the context of captivity.

Netanyahu and Gallant are charged with –

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
  • Wilful killing;
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime;
  • Extermination and/or murder, including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity; and
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity.

Regarding the charges against Hamas, Khan said some of the crimes they’re facing are continuing crimes, such as hostage taking.

“We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups pursuant to organisational policies. Some of these crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day.

“My Office submits there are reasonable grounds to believe that SINWAR, DEIF and HANIYEH are criminally responsible for the killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians in attacks perpetrated by Hamas (in particular its military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades) and other armed groups on 7 October 2023 and the taking of at least 245 hostages.

“As part of our investigations, my Office has interviewed victims and survivors, including former hostages and eyewitnesses from six major attack locations: Kfar Aza; Holit; the location of the Supernova Music Festival; Be’eri; Nir Oz; and Nahal Oz.

“The investigation also relies on evidence such as CCTV footage, authenticated audio, photo and video material, statements by Hamas members including the alleged perpetrators named above, and expert evidence.

“It is the view of my Office that these individuals planned and instigated the commission of crimes on 7 October 2023, and have through their own actions, including personal visits to hostages shortly after their kidnapping, acknowledged their responsibility for those crimes.

“We submit that these crimes could not have been committed without their actions. They are charged both as co-perpetrators and as superiors pursuant to Articles 25 and 28 of the Rome Statute.”

He added: “My Office also submits there are reasonable grounds to believe that hostages taken from Israel have been kept in inhumane conditions, and that some have been subject to sexual violence, including rape, while being held in captivity.

“We have reached that conclusion based on medical records, contemporaneous video and documentary evidence, and interviews with victims and survivors.”

While he thanked “Israeli” victims for their “courage” in coming forward, such appreciation was not extended to Gaza’s millions who have suffered over seven months of starvation and terror, compared to one morning’s anguish on October 7.

Regarding the charges against the “Israelis”, Khan said he had decided his office had jurisdiction even though “israel” was not a signatory to the ICC Convention.

“My Office submits that the evidence we have collected, including interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, authenticated video, photo and audio material, satellite imagery and statements from the alleged perpetrator group, shows that Israel has intentionally and systematically deprived the civilian population in all parts of Gaza of objects indispensable to human survival.

“This occurred through the imposition of a total siege over Gaza that involved completely closing the three border crossing points, Rafah, Kerem Shalom and Erez, from 8 October 2023 for extended periods and then by arbitrarily restricting the transfer of essential supplies – including food and medicine – through the border crossings after they were reopened.

“The siege also included cutting off cross-border water pipelines from Israel to Gaza – Gazans’ principal source of clean water – for a prolonged period beginning 9 October 2023, and cutting off and hindering electricity supplies from at least 8 October 2023 until today.

“This took place alongside other attacks on civilians, including those queuing for food; obstruction of aid delivery by humanitarian agencies; and attacks on and killing of aid workers, which forced many agencies to cease or limit their operations in Gaza.

“My Office submits that these acts were committed as part of a common plan to use starvation as a method of war and other acts of violence against the Gazan civilian population as a means to (i) eliminate Hamas; (ii) secure the return of the hostages which Hamas has abducted, and (iii) collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza, whom they perceived as a threat to Israel.

“The effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare, together with other attacks and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza are acute, visible and widely known, and have been confirmed by multiple witnesses interviewed by my Office, including local and international medical doctors.

“They include malnutrition, dehydration, profound suffering and an increasing number of deaths among the Palestinian population, including babies, other children, and women.

“Famine is present in some areas of Gaza and is imminent in other areas. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned more than two months ago, ‘1.1 million people in Gaza are facing catastrophic hunger – the highest number of people ever recorded – anywhere, anytime’ as a result of an ‘entirely manmade disaster’.

“Today, my Office seeks to charge two of those most responsible, NETANYAHU and GALLANT, both as co-perpetrators and as superiors pursuant to Articles 25 and 28 of the Rome Statute.

“Israel, like all States, has a right to take action to defend its population. That right, however, does not absolve Israel or any State of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law.

“Notwithstanding any military goals they may have, the means Israel chose to achieve them in Gaza – namely, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering, and serious injury to body or health of the civilian population – are criminal.

“Since last year, in Ramallah, in Cairo, in Israel and in Rafah, I have consistently emphasised that international humanitarian law demands that Israel take urgent action to immediately allow access to humanitarian aid in Gaza at scale.

“I specifically underlined that starvation as a method of war and the denial of humanitarian relief constitute Rome Statute offences. I could not have been clearer.

“As I also repeatedly underlined in my public statements, those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my Office takes action. That day has come.”

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