‘If they do this to Israel, we’ll be next,’ says US senator

‘If they do this to Israel, we’ll be next,’ says US senator
‘If they do this to Israel, we’ll be next,’ says US senator

AA / Washington / Iclal Turan

US Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday raised concerns about arrest warrants sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor against senior Israeli officials, saying that “if they do this to Israel, we will be the next”.

“I hope that together we can find a way to assuage our discontent with the ICC, because if they do this to Israel, we will be next,” Graham said, during the Secretary of State’s testimony. US State, Antony Blinken, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Ultimately, what I hope is that we pursue sanctions against the ICC for this outrage, not only to help our friends in Israel, but also to protect us over time,” Graham added .

“I’m happy to work with you on this,” Blinken responded when Graham asked whether he would support a sanction against the ICC.

Blinken also told lawmakers Tuesday that the State Department would work with Congress to develop an “appropriate response” after filing requests for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant by ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan.

“Senator Risch, in short, let’s look at this. We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response. I’m committed to doing that,” Blinken responded to Republican Senator Jim Risch, the chairman of the House Committee. Foreign Affairs of the United States Senate.

“As you say, the devil is in the details, so let’s see what you have. And we can go from there,” he added.

Blinken’s comments mark the strongest signal of change within the Biden administration since the White House’s April 30 response to US lawmakers’ threats of retaliation against court officials, their families and their associates if the ICC were to issue arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials.

The Biden administration has maintained that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Although Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, Palestine joined it in 2015.

While it rejected the ICC’s jurisdiction over Israel, the Biden administration still welcomed the ICC’s decision to issue arrest warrants against senior Russian officials and President Vladimir Putin, as part of of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Like Israel, Russia is also not a signatory to the Rome Statute.

* Translated from English by Mounir Bennour.

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