US says ICC lacks authority over Israeli investigations

The Hague-based court should not pursue West Jerusalem over the war in Gaza, the US State Department said

The International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have jurisdiction over Israeli officials, US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told journalists on Tuesday, as the war in Gaza is on track to enter its seventh month.
His statement followed reports that The Hague-based court may issue arrest warrants for Israeli leadership over the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza. Bloomberg wrote on Monday that G7 countries had privately told the ICC that Israel could back out of a potential ceasefire if investigators target its officials directly.
Despite not recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICC over its own citizens, the US cooperates with the court on some matters, Patel told reporters. “We work closely with the ICC on a number of key areas. We think that they do important work as it relates to Ukraine, Darfur, Sudan,” he said. “But again, in this particular instance, I’m sorry, they just do not have jurisdiction.”

Officials in West Jerusalem worry that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi may be targeted by the ICC, according to the Times of Israel.
In a video released on Tuesday, Netanyahu slammed the potential warrants as “an outrage of historic proportions.”
“Branding Israel’s leaders and soldiers as war criminals will pour jet fuel on the fires of anti-Semitism,” he said, adding that Israel does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. He accused the ICC of attempting to “paralyze Israel’s very ability to defend itself.” Just like the US, Israel is not a party to the ICC.
In his address, Netanyahu reiterated that the Israeli army will not stop until the Palestinian militant group Hamas is neutralized, and “that Gaza never poses a threat to Israel again.”

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a separate judicial body, ruled that it is “plausible” that the IDF’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide. The court is currently examining the case brought against Israel by South Africa, and the ruling on the merits of the case can potentially take years. Israeli President Isaac Herzog slammed the ICJ’s decision to start proceedings against his country as “atrocious and preposterous.”
The current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7, when the Palestinian militants attacked Israelis territory, killing more than 1,100 people and kidnapping more than 250.
More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during Israeli airstrikes and ground invasion, according to local authorities. The UN has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the ever-worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, whose population is plagued by hunger and lack of supplies in addition to the horrors of war.