Skip to main content

US working to prevent ICC arrest warrant for Netanyahu: Reports

Israel's prime minister is said to be 'unusually stressed' by prospect of warrant being issued by International Criminal Court
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base, which houses the Ministry of Defence, in Tel Aviv on 24 December 2023 (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL/AFP)

The US is working to prevent the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the attack on Gaza, Israeli media has reported.

According to the news site Walla, Netanyahu is leading a "non-stop push over the telephone" to prevent an arrest warrant being issued against him by the ICC, particularly communicating with the White House.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv has reported that Netanyahu is "frightened and unusually stressed" by the possibility of an imminent arrest warrant.

Sources close to the paper believe that the arrest warrants are only a matter of time.

The paper reported that Defence Minister Yoav Galant and Chief of Staff Major-General Herzi Halevi could also be served with warrants.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


On 26 April, Netanyahu tweeted that "under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the Hague-based Criminal Court to undermine its fundamental right to defend itself".

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz told the N12 channel that the warrant was "absolute hypocrisy."

"If necessary, we will not leave the country," he said.

An internal State Department memo reviewed by Reuters on Saturday revealed senior US officials have advised Secretary of State Antony Blinken that they do not find "credible or reliable" Israel's assurances that it is using US-supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Other officials upheld support for Israel's representation.

Under a National Security Memorandum issued by President Joe Biden in February, Blinken must report to Congress by 8 May on whether he finds credible Israel's assurances that its use of US weapons does not violate US or international law.

By 24 March, at least seven State Department bureaus had sent in their contributions to an initial "options memo" to Blinken. Parts of the memo, which has not been previously reported, were classified.

The submissions to the memo provide the most extensive picture to date of the divisions inside the State Department over whether Israel might be violating international humanitarian law in Gaza.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.