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Only US, ‘israel’ have jurisdiction in Gaza – White House

Alameen Templeton

Only the US and “israel” have jurisdiction in Gaza, White House officials argued Thursday as president Joe Biden administration said it would work with congress to punish the International Criminal Court.

The court has infuriated US and “israeli” politicians for issuing arrest warrants for “israeli” prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its defence minister Yoav Gallant.

Human Rights Watch and a host of human rights NGOs meantime called on Biden’s administration to support, rather than sanction, the ICC.

The groups urged Biden to reject attacks on the court, calling previous US sanctions against the prosecutor’s predecessor an affront to justice.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller Thursday claimed only “israel” and the US have jurisdiction to decide if the occupation army in Gaza is contravening any laws.

Miller expressed “great concerns about the (ICC) prosecutor and the steps that he took”.

In a furious exchange with reporters, Miller said: “The government of Israel has jurisdiction and we have jurisdiction with the use of our military that we have provided.”

Journalists challenged him about this, asking how US jurisdiction applies to criminal law cases or the occupied Palestinian territories. Miller replied it was grounded in Washington’s “Israel Leahy Laws”, which prohibit the US from providing military assistance to militaries that violate humanitarian law.

Biden has previously slammed the ICC’s decision, calling it “outrageous”. He has pledged “ironclad support” for Israel as the process plays out. He further decried Khan’s “equivalence” between Israel and Hamas.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is also seeking arrest warrants for crimes against humanity against Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif.

Palestinians in Gaza, and officials from the Islamic Resistance movement have expressed outrage that the court could regard “israel” and the people under its illegal occupation — who have a legitimate right to resist — with any degree of equivalence.

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