House pols vote to sanction ICC officials over Netanyahu arrest warrant

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation to sanction International Criminal Court officials involved in seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

In a 247-155 vote, 42 Democrats joined all Republicans in backing the bill which would force President Biden to deny entry into the US, revoke visas and impose financial sanctions on members of The Hague involved in the effort to arrest Netanyahu, 74, and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, 65, over alleged war crimes related to Israel’s response to the Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack on the Jewish state. 

Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) voted “present.” 

The White House opposes the sanctions bill. C-SPAN

“Today, House Republicans passed the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act which will hold the corrupt ICC accountable to protect Israel and our allies from baseless attacks from antisemitic unelected bureaucrats at the ICC,” Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said in a statement. 

“The ICC is an illegitimate court that equivocates a peaceful nation protecting its right to exist with radical terror groups that commit genocide,” she added. 

The measure comes after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced last month that his office would pursue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Deif over the Israel-Hamas war.

Neither the US nor Israel are members of the ICC. 

The White House expressed concern about the potential for arrest warrants to be issued against a US ally, but did not support the House sanctions package. 

The warrants still need to be approved by a judge. AFP via Getty Images
The war crimes allegations come in response to Israel’s efforts to root out Hamas terrorists in Gaza. AP

“The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 8282, the ‘Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act,’” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy on Monday. 

“This legislation could require sanctions against court staff, judges, witnesses, and US allies and partners who provide even limited, targeted support to the court in a range of aspects of its work,” the Biden administration argued.

“The Administration is deeply concerned about the ICC Prosecutor’s heedless rush to apply for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials,” the statement continued. “At the same time, the Administration opposes the imposition of sanctions against the ICC, its personnel, its judges, or those who assist its work.”

The White House further argued that “there are more effective ways to defend Israel.” 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told reporters Tuesday that he expects the bill to be “dead on arrival” in the Senate. 

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did not respond to The Post’s request for comment. 

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