Ex-Israeli PM calls for defunding ICC after court requests arrest warrant for Netanyahu over ‘war crimes’

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday called for “decent nations” to defund the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a court prosecutor filed applications for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders for alleged “war crimes.” 

Prosecutor Karim Khan said his office had collected evidence to give “reasonable grounds” to believe Netanyahu and Gallant “bear criminal responsibility for… war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine.” 

Khan said those alleged crimes include “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” and “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.”  

He said he is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and its military commander Mohammed Deif. 


Naftali Bennett speaking

Former Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett speaks at the “Bring Them Home” rally in support of Israeli hostages outside the UN Headquarters on April 07, 2024 in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Bennet said the prosecutor’s request was “a moment of shame for the ICC and the world community” and provided “a huge boost to global Jihadi terror.”

“An ICC that compares the executor of a deliberate murderous attack that included raping women and burning babies, with those who are defending themselves against it, is better off not existing,” Bennett said. “It’s time for the decent nations to defund the ICC.” 

He included the hashtag: “DefundTheICC.”

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move as disgraceful and antisemitic. U.S. President Joe Biden also lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.

A panel of three judges will decide whether to issue the arrest warrants and allow a case to proceed. The judges typically take two months to make such decisions.


Israel is not a member of the court, so even if the arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.

Fox News Digital’s Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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