Biden Defends Israel Against War Crimes Charges Amid ICC and ICJ Allegations

According to News24, United States President Joe Biden has defended Israel against war crimes charges in international courts.

Biden’s remarks followed an announcement by Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), that he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over alleged war crimes committed during the conflict in Gaza.

“Let me be clear, we reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders,” Biden said at a Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House on Monday, the same day Khan announced the warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

“There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,” Biden added. Earlier that day, he issued a statement calling the ICC warrants “outrageous.”

Israel is also facing a separate genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), brought by South Africa.

Biden dismissed the genocide allegations against Israel. “Contrary to allegations made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), what’s happening in Gaza is not genocide. We reject that,” he said.

In January, the ICJ ruled there was a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocidal acts. Reported by AP News

While Biden’s defense of Israel received warm applause at the White House event, his election campaign has faced pro-Palestinian protests across the US, with some antiwar advocates labeling the president “Genocide Joe.”

The ICC prosecutor outlined specific charges against Netanyahu and Gallant, including “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” and “extermination,” noting that his full investigation was ongoing.

Khan also applied for arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders—Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri (known as Deif), and Ismail Haniyeh—for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder, taking of captives, torture, rape, and other acts of sexual violence.

The charges were supported by evidence from a panel of experts, including international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. “I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law,” Clooney stated.

Some US Republican lawmakers strongly criticized the ICC’s actions against Israel. “My colleagues and I look forward to making sure neither Khan, his associates, nor their families will ever set foot again in the United States,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton wrote on X.

The ICC, the world’s first permanent international war crimes court, requires its 124 member states to arrest the wanted individuals if they are on a member state’s territory.

The US is not a member of the ICC and could leverage its influence to pressure its allies, mostly European nations that are ICC signatories, not to act on the warrants, according to Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Washington, DC.