Israel was preparing to host ICC chief prosecutor, taken completely by surprise by arrest warrant bid — officials

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan visits a Gaza border town attacked by Hamas, on December 3, 2023. (Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum)
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan visits a Gaza border town attacked by Hamas, on December 3, 2023. (Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum)

Israel has been in touch with the ICC chief prosecutor’s office in recent weeks, The Times of Israel has learned. Israeli officials were expecting to host ICC officials starting this evening for a preliminary visit to plan an official visit by Karim Khan.

Israel was ready to spend time with Khan to show how decisions are made, where legal experts fit into the decision-making process, how strikes are approved in the IDF, what Israel is doing around humanitarian aid, and more.

Israel was taken totally by surprise by Khan’s announcement earlier today that he intends to seek arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Yoav Gallant.

Khan had been in Israel on an unofficial visit after October 7 to meet hostage families.

The fact that Khan made the announcement in front of cameras further frustrated Israeli officials, who saw it as indicating that he was running after headlines.

For now, the Foreign Ministry is involved in a diplomatic blitz to ask other countries to publicly decry Khan’s decision. The ministry is convinced that other countries will issue statements similar to those that have already come from the Czech Republic, Austria, and the UK.

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