Belgium, France support 'war crimes' court request for leaders of Israel and Hamas

Ahram Online , AP , Tuesday 21 May 2024

France and Belgium each released statements supporting the world’s top war crimes court's request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas.

Hadja Lahbib
File Photo: Belgian Foreign Minister, Hadja Lahbib. June 26, 2023.AFP


International Criminal Court top prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel’s isolation over the war in Gaza.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Monday.

Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib posted on X, “Crimes committed in Gaza must be prosecuted at the highest level, regardless of the perpetrators," along with a statement.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move as disgraceful and antisemitic.

United States President Joe Biden lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel’s "right to defend itself" against Hamas.


Israel is facing accusations of committing genocide against the Palestinians in its war on Gaza at the International Court of Justice in a case filed by South Africa, which was later joined by several countries.

Last week, Egypt announced its intention to officially intervene in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ).

The Hamas attacks on targets inside Israel on 7 October killed 1,140, including hundreds of Israeli soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israel has killed or wounded nearly 120,000 Palestinians in Gaza since 7 October - most of whom are women and children.

Relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza has destroyed more than 50 percent of all residential units in the strip, displacing more than 80 percent of the 2.3 million population of the strip.

An Israeli blockade on food, water, and fuel has left most of the civilian population on the verge of starvation.

Moreover, Israel has destroyed or damaged all hospitals in the strip, leaving the population with no access to medical care.

Israel has resisted all regional and international efforts to stop its war on Gaza, opting to carry out a ground assault against Palestinian Rafah in southern Gaza where 1.3 million displaced Palestinians were seeking refuge from airstrikes and bombardment elsewhere in the strip.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops have killed nearly 500 Palestinians and arrested thousands more since 7 October.

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