U.S. Congress freaks after ICC issues arrest warrants for both Israel and Hamas, threatens sanctions against international court
05/23/2024 // Ethan Huff // Views

Republican leaders are feverishly scrambling to drum up some kind of legislation to stop the International Criminal Court (ICC) from taking action against the leaders of Israel who are unleashing hell in the Gaza Strip.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is leading the charge to forcefully stop the ICC from going after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The ICC is also, by the way, going after Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri for the same reasons it is going after Israel's leaders: "war crimes and crimes against humanity."

"If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel," Johnson fumed, calling the ICC's efforts to hold Israel and Hamas accountable "disgraceful" and "lawless."

Johnson continued in a rant to demand that the White House "use every available tool to prevent such an abomination."

(Related: The people of Gaza are days away from starving to death now that Israel is in full control of the Rafah crossing.)

Republicans are Israel, not America, first

Texas Republican Michael McCaul, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Axios that the GOP is currently drafting a bill based on a previous bill introduced in February 2023 by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would sanction the ICC as punishment for the entity doing its job.

Cotton, as you may recall, was among the dozen or so senators who wrote to ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan earlier this month calling on him to stop pursuing justice against Israel and Hamas. Israel can do no wrong, according to Cotton and his ilk, and must be left alone and never, ever questioned.

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Cotton did admit, though, that existing U.S. laws provide "all means necessary and appropriate" to defend America and its allies, so why the sudden need for new legislation to punish the ICC for going after Israel and Hamas?

Several members of the Progressive Caucus, including Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, are approaching the matter much differently. They say Congress has no jurisdiction over the ICC, which is not even in the U.S. but rather in The Hague, Netherlands.

The international court is tasked with resolving matters between nations like this that involve criminal activity, but Israel is apparently exempt from international law.

Netanyahu is begging President Biden to "intervene" in some way to stop the ICC from granting Khan's arrest warrant request, which would force Netanyahu, Gallant and others to stay in Israel or else face arrest in other countries where they travel.

Biden is being obedient to Netanyahu so far, having denounced Khan's motion to seek warrants as "outrageous." Biden also scoffed at both Israel and Hamas being lumped into the same category as one another, calling this "equivalence" false.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is parroting the same line that the ICC "has no jurisdiction over this matter." He then proceeded to question "the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation."

It is important to note that the U.S., ironically enough, is one of the creators of the ICC. The entity was formed after the Washington-backed war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, though Congress never actually ratified the Rome Statute.

The ICC absolutely does have jurisdiction over the West Bank and Gaza, though. The Palestinian Authority accepted this jurisdiction in 2015, which means Israel has no jurisdiction over the ICC in trying to stop it from mediating this heinous conflict.

Do you think things are heading towards World War III or are we already there? Learn more at WWIII.news.

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