Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, October 28, 2023.

On Sunday, the NY Times reported that Israeli and foreign officials increasingly believe the International Criminal Court in the Hague is about to issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli government officials (which the media suggested was a reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) on charges related to the war against Hamas. The same Israeli and foreign officials also suggested the court is considering arrest warrants against Hamas leaders.

Barak Ravid reported on Axios that Netanyahu urged Biden to intervene to help prevent the ICC warrants.


House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La) tweeted in response: “The ICC should stand down on this immediately. Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist organizations seeking to destroy it. Note to the ICC: the real criminals are with Hamas and in Iran.”

“Such a lawless action by the ICC would directly undermine US national security interests,” Johnson wrote, and warned that, “If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel, thereby endangering our country’s sovereign authority.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday told reporters regarding the ICC investigation, “We don’t support it … we don’t believe they have the jurisdiction.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday reassured Israelis that he would not permit the ICC in the Hague to impede Israel’s determination to invade Rafah and eliminate the Hamas leadership which is thought to be holed up there.

Netanyahu tweeted on Friday: “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the Hague Criminal Court to undermine its fundamental right to defend itself. The threat against IDF soldiers and public figures in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world, is scandalous. We will not give in to them.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told Axios there will be a House version of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark) bill aimed at sanctioning any ICC official investigating the US and its allies. 

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Ca) said the US should “think of whether we stay a signatory” to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. “I know Congress will ensure consequences for such an absurd decision,” Sherman tweeted.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), whose district borders on AOC’s but unlike his neighbor is a great friend of Israel, called for “strong consequences from both Congress and the President” should the ICC target Israel.

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