Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg / Flash 90
A child's room in Nir Oz following the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7, 2023

If the International Criminal Court at The Hague decides to issue arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over Israel’s defensive war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Germany will stand by the decision and enforce it, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit told reporters Wednesday in Berlin.

“Of course. Yes, we abide by the law,” Hebestreit said in response to a reporter’s question. But he cautioned that there was no equivalence between the actions of the State of Israel, defending itself against invading Hamas terrorists, and the terrorists themselves who have violated every international law on the books in their zeal to annihilate Israel and its Jews.


‘Applying for Arrest Warrants, Not Issuing Them’
This past Monday, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan issued a request for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant as well as for Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif, who planned and executed the massacre of some 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals and the abduction of 253 others in the October 7, 2023 invasion of the Jewish State by thousands of Hamas-led terrorists. At least 128 hostages are still being held by the terrorists in Gaza, although it is believed that dozens have died in captivity.

Netanyahu, Gallant, Sinwar and Deif are charged by the prosecutor with “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the application.

“We’re talking about applying for arrest warrants and not about issuing them,” Germany’s defense minister Boris Pistorius cautioned Tuesday at a joint news conference with his Lithuanian counterpart in Palanga. “I think it’s obvious that that would put us in a real dilemma … We are waiting for the decision,” he said.

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor noted in a statement on the X social media platform that the “German ‘Staatsraeson’ (national interest) is now being put to the test – no ifs or buts.

“The public statement that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility if our hands are tied as soon as we defend ourselves,” Prosor wrote.

‘Court Will Have to Assess Very Different Facts’
The German government said in a statement posted on the federal foreign office website that while Germany respects its independence and its procedures like those of all other international courts, the Court “will have to answer a number of difficult questions, including the question of its jurisdiction and the complementarity of investigations between constitutional states affected, such as Israel.”

The German government likewise noted that the simultaneous application for arrest warrants against the Hamas leaders and the two Israeli officials “gave the false impression of an equation,” adding that the Court “will now have to assess very different facts.

“The Hamas leaders are responsible for a barbaric massacre in which men, women and children were brutally murdered, raped and kidnapped in Israel on October 7th,” the statement noted. “Hamas continues to hold Israeli hostages in unspeakable conditions, attack Israel with rockets and use Gaza’s civilian population as human shields.

“The Israeli government has the right and duty to protect and defend its people from this. It is clear that international humanitarian law with all its obligations applies,” the statement added.

‘Outrageous Decision’
Israel, like the United States, is not a member of the Court and does not recognize its jurisdiction over the Jewish State.

“The outrageous decision by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, to seek arrest warrants against the democratically elected leaders of Israel is a moral outrage of historic proportions. It will cast an everlasting mark of shame on the international court,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued shortly after the announcement.

“Israel is waging a just war against Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization that perpetrated the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Hamas massacred 1200 Jews, raped Jewish women, burned Jewish babies, took hundreds hostage.

“Now, in the face of these horrors, Mr. Khan creates a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas. This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR and Hitler.

“What a travesty of justice!”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.