Israel-Hamas war: South Africa welcomes request for arrest warrants Israel-Hamas war: South Africa welcomes request for arrest warrants

Israel-Hamas war: South Africa welcomes request for arrest warrants

Israel-Hamas war: South Africa welcomes request for arrest warrants
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South Africa welcomes the International Criminal Court prosecutor's request for arrest warrants against leaders of Israel and Hamas.

The South African government is one of the main defenders of the Palestinian cause, having notably filed a complaint against Israel before the International Court of Justice accusing it of genocide.

ICC Prosecutor General Karim Khan said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Netanyahu and his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, were criminally responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity that allegedly committed in Gaza. 

But the Court is also studying the possibility of issuing arrest warrants against three senior Hamas officials on similar charges.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily to the announcement by the International Criminal Court of an arrest warrant against him:  " As Prime Minister of Israel, I reject with disgust the comparison made by the prosecutor The Hague between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas This is a complete distortion of reality,” he said. 

In a written statement, US President Joe Biden called the move scandalous and said there was "no equivalence" between Israel and Hamas.

The US State Department said the ICC did not have jurisdiction to investigate the case because Israel was not a signatory to the Rome Statute that founded the court.

“This decision does not help and could jeopardize ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would allow hostages to be removed from Gaza and humanitarian aid delivered.” said Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the State Department. 

The news sparked mixed reactions on the streets of Tel Aviv, a city that has seen weeks of massive protests, demanding that the Netanyahu administration do more to secure the release of hostages still held in Gaza.

“I don’t understand what world we live in, where there is symmetry between leaders of a terrorist organization who committed mass killings and heads of state who were democratically elected.” said Tel Aviv resident Inbar Goldstein. 

Palestinians in central Gaza reacted mutedly to the ICC's announcement.

"We want decisive international resolutions. Decisive to solve the problems. We are the victims, even though we have nothing to do with Israel or Hamas. We are neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad." said Sami Abu Zeid, displaced from Gaza City. 

ICC judges will now review the evidence and decide whether arrest warrants can be issued for the leaders of Israel and Hamas.

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