Israel-Hamas war: the moment of truth approaches

Israel-Hamas war: the moment of truth approaches
Israel-Hamas war: the moment of truth approaches

Opposition to US support for Israel in its war in Gaza is growing. Started on university campuses, discontent is now spreading to the American administration.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland obtained by the POLITICO site, 90 lawyers including 20 from the Biden administration assert that Israel has violated the American arms export control law and the Geneva Conventions. They are calling on the president to suspend military aid to Israel because of the brutality of its intervention in Gaza. They include attorneys from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor and Energy. The letter is still circulating, so the number of signatures will increase.

The letter reminds Garland that the majority of Americans, according to recent polls, believe the United States should stop arms deliveries to Israel until it stops its military operations in Gaza.

Washington violates its own laws

Israel was required to assure Washington that it would not use US-supplied weapons to violate international law or block aid shipments to the Palestinians: “…the US government is violating its own laws and policies a Justice Department lawyer who signed the letter told POLITICO.

Despite repeated warnings from the Biden administration, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeats that Israel will invade the city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have taken refuge fleeing the fighting. Even adding that he would order the attack whether or not a truce deal for the hostages had been reached and that Israel would not accept a complete withdrawal from Gaza. However, ceasefire and hostage release talks are underway with the mediation of other stakeholders between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu said his forces had begun evacuating Palestinians from Rafah in preparation for the next offensive.

Arrest warrant for Netanyahu

According to the Israeli Ynet website of the country’s leading daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli lawyers at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague believe arrest warrants for Israeli leaders have been issued in secret. Israel’s lawyers fear that Israeli officials will only discover the existence of the arrest warrants when they arrive in a European country.

For its part, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reports that Netanyahu is “scared and unusually stressed” by the possibility of an impending international arrest warrant for him. The newspaper writes that Israeli officials are counting on the United States to obstruct any action by the International Criminal Court. Washington has already declared that the ICC does not have jurisdiction to prosecute Israeli leaders.

Following a complaint from South Africa to the ICJ, Israel also faces accusations of genocide for its intervention in Gaza. The war there has killed more than 34,500 Palestinians, the majority of them women and children.

The United States before the ICC

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have pledged to take punitive measures against the ICC if it prosecutes Israeli officials. According to the news site Axios, members of Congress are considering passing legislation sanctioning the ICC, while others would like Washington to withdraw from the Rome Statute, on which the Court was created. They undoubtedly fear that the United States will also be in the dock.

As U.S. leaders have provided weapons, munitions and operational intelligence to Israelis in Gaza, they could be next in line to face trial before the ICC.

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