(New York, N.Y.) The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) issued the following statement in response to International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan’s decision to seek arrest warrants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant along with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Muhammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. CEP CEO Mark D. Wallace and CEP President Fran Townsend said:

“Mr. Khan’s decision to seek arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders is not only hollow as a signal, it is morally abhorrent. To equate the actions of an internationally-designated terror group with those of a democratically-elected government defending its territory is to make a mockery of the ICC’s supposed concern for international justice.  Mr. Khan’s attempt to appear even-handed by condemning both sides is transparent. Arrest warrants for Hamas’s leaders should have been issued on October 8.  There can be no moral equivalence between the leaders of a group that tortures, rapes, murders, and uses its own civilians as human shields, and a sovereign nation with a duty to protect its citizens.

Furthermore, under its own principle of complementarity, the ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Any case against Israeli leadership is illegitimate until the Israeli legal system has had a full opportunity to prosecute. Meanwhile, Yahyah Sinwar—a terrorist of the first order—will never under any circumstances willingly face justice, as he hides deep in Hamas’ Qatar-subsidized subterranean complex, surrounded by innocent hostages, provoking and inviting death and destruction upon his own people.”

Significantly, Khan’s decision to seek these arrests comes at a time when Israel is already facing contrived accusations of genocide from South Africa in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  Ambassador Wallace and former Homeland Security Advisor Townsend noted at the time:

“Today’s ICC decision is assuredly part of South Africa’s transparent efforts to whitewash its own abysmal human rights record and demonize the world’s only Jewish state in collusion with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In particular, Johannesburg-based telecoms firm MTN, recently named South Africa’s “most valuable brand,” has a long and dishonorable partnership with the regime in Tehran, helping it ride roughshod over the human rights of Iranians by providing surveillance technology. We call for an independent investigation into South Africa’s disturbing and commercially motivated role in inciting factitious international judicial proceedings targeting Israel since October 7. South Africa and the international community should channel their outrage upon the entities exclusively responsible for the carnage of that day and the ensuing calamities: namely, Hamas and its state patrons.”

Established in The Hague in 2002, the ICC has declined to take any action against Bashar al-Assad despite his well-documented crimes against his own people over 13 years. Neither Israel nor the United States are State Parties to the ICC.

To read CEP Senior Director Hans-Jakob Schindler’s comments in The National regarding today’s ICC decision, click here.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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