Republican senators warn ICC: Target Israel, and we will target you

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Sen. Tom Cotton speaks with reporters at the Senate Subway on Capitol Hill, March 20, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Mariam Zuhaib)
Sen. Tom Cotton speaks with reporters at the Senate Subway on Capitol Hill, March 20, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Mariam Zuhaib)

“Target Israel, and we will target you,” a dozen Republican senators warn, in a letter to International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan, amid reports that the ICC is considering issuing arrest warrants against top Israeli officials.

“Such actions are illegitimate and lack legal basis, and if carried out will result in severe sanctions against you and your institution,” the letter led by Sen. Tom Cotton reads. Also signing on are Sens. Mitch McConnell (minority leader), Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

“The ICC is attempting to punish Israel for taking legitimate actions of self-defense against their Iranian-backed aggressors. In fact, in your own words, you witnessed ‘scenes of calculated cruelty’ conducted by Hamas in Israel following the October 7 attacks. These arrest warrants would align the ICC with the largest state sponsor of terrorism and its proxy. To be clear, there is no moral equivalence between Hamas’s terrorism and Israel’s justified response,” the senators write.

“The ICC is also prohibited by its charter from proceeding in any case unless the relevant government is unwilling or unable to police themselves. You yourself have said that ‘Israel has trained lawyers who advise commanders and a robust system intended to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.’ By issuing warrants, you would be calling into question the legitimacy of Israel’s laws, legal system, and democratic form of government.

“If you move forward with the measures indicated in the report, we will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you and your families from the United States,” the letter states. “You have been warned.”

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