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US allies France, Belgium defend ICC prosecutor’s request for Israeli arrest warrants

France, Belgium and other European allies are expressing support for the International Criminal Court amid ongoing demands from the U.S. to drop accusations of war crimes against Israel.

Protestations from the U.S. and Israel began after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan filed applications for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders for alleged ‘war crimes.

‘France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations,’ the nation’s foreign ministry said Monday.

Slovenia also spoke out in support of the ICC, saying ‘accountability is crucial’ in addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict.

‘War crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and Palestine from at least Oct.7 2023 must be prosecuted independently and impartially regardless of the perpetrators,’ the foreign ministry of Slovenia said in a statement posted Monday to social media. ‘Accountability is crucial to prevent atrocities and to guarantee peace.’

‘Belgium supports the work of the International Criminal Court,’ Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Labib said in a statement posted to social media. ‘The request submitted by the Court’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, for arrest warrants against both Hamas and Israeli officials is an important step in the investigation of the situation in Palestine.

Germany expressed hesitation at the accusations placed against Israeli leadership, saying, ‘The simultaneous application for arrest warrants against the Hamas leaders on the one hand and the two Israeli officials on the other has given the false impression of equivalence.’

Khan said his office had collected evidence to give ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Netanyahu and Gallant ‘bear criminal responsibility for… war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine.’ 

Khan said those alleged crimes include ‘starvation of civilians as a method of warfare’ and ‘intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.’ 

He said he is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and its military commander Mohammed Deif. 

The Israeli government has rebuked the ICC’s handling of the situation.

‘I reject with disgust the Hague prosecutor’s comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas,’ Netanyahu said.

‘It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with extraordinary heroism against the vile Hamas murderers who attacked us with terrible cruelty on Oct. 7,’ Netanyahu said in an English-language statement.

Biden publicly backed Israel after the ICC’s announcement, saying the U.S. ‘[rejects] the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders.’

‘Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,’ Biden said. ‘And it’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.’

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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