US House passes bill sanctioning ICC for seeking Netanyahu, Gallant arrest warrants

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have passed a bill to sanction the International Criminal Court for requesting arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The vote passes 247 to 155, with all 205 voting Republicans backing the measure alongside 42 Democrats.

The vote amounts to Congress’ first legislative rebuke to the war crimes court since its stunning decision last month to seek arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel and Hamas. The move was widely denounced in Washington, creating a rare moment of unity on Israel even as partisan divisions over the war with Hamas intensified.

The House bill would apply sweeping economic sanctions and visa restrictions to individuals and judges associated with the ICC, including their family members.

Despite the strong support in the House, the measure is expected to face a tougher time in the Democrat-led Senate.

The White House opposes the legislation, calling it overreach, and Democrats label the approach as “overly broad,” warning it could ensnare Americans and US companies that do important work with the court.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have acknowledged the bill is unlikely to become law and left the door open to further negotiation with the White House. They say it would be better for Congress to be united against the Hague-based court.

“We’re always strongest, particularly on this committee, when we speak with one voice as one nation, in this case to the ICC and to the judges,” GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, says during House debate. “A partisan messaging bill was not my intention here but that is where we are.”

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