Netanyahu's arrest warrant dubbed 'gift to terrorists' as pro-Israel lawmakers vow revenge

A House Republican leader is accusing the International Criminal Court (ICC) of equating Israel's democratically elected government with the terrorist group Hamas, after the chief prosecutor petitioned for arrest warrants against top officials in both countries.

“The ICC's decision to equate Israel with Hamas as a war criminal is a gift to terrorists around the world and a slap in the face to the Middle East's only free-standing democracy,” said House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R -Minn. , the No. 3 House GOP lawmaker, told Fox News Digital. “There is no comparison between the deliberate killing, rape and torture of thousands of innocent civilians and those who rightly defend themselves against it.”

He is one of several pro-Israel lawmakers who have called on the ICC to face the consequences of the developments. Others are calling on the US to take direct action against the international judicial body.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement: “In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed.” . The ICC may threaten Israel's leaders, but ours could be next.”

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced Monday morning that he believes there are “reasonable grounds” to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza Strip.

ICC REQUESTS ARREST WARRANTS FOR NETANYAHU AND HAMAS LEADERS OVER 'WAR CRIMES'

Pro-Israel lawmakers in Congress, such as House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (left), and Rep. Mike Waltz, are calling for consequences against the ICC after the top prosecutor said he was seeking an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Getty Images)

Among the accusations Khan mentions are the deliberate targeting of civilians and “starving civilians as a method of war.”

He is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, the head of Hamas's military wing – known as the Al-Qassam Brigades – over the Palestinian liberation group of October 7. 2023, terrorist attack in Israel.

It has sparked a wave of outrage among Israeli defenders in Washington, many of whom pointed out that Israel, like the US, is not under the ICC's jurisdiction. However, the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank joined in 2015.

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Emmer went a step further in his condemnation on Monday, declaring: “It is time for the rest of the world to defend and refuse to recognize any legitimacy of a pro-terrorist international court.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., suggested ICC officials should be banned from gaining a foothold in the U.S.

“There is no legal or legislative basis for these allegations,” he told Fox News Digital, vowing that Republicans in Congress “will push to end U.S. support for the ICC and their officials' entry into our country will deny.”

Karim Khan

Karim Khan is the ICC's chief prosecutor. (Getty Images)

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., urged President Biden to stand up to the Israeli arrest warrants.

“The ICC is a sham kangaroo court that establishes a moral equivalence between our ally Israel and the Hamas terrorists currently holding American citizens hostage. This is why I co-sponsored legislation to sanction the ICC when it goes after the Americans and our allies,” he told Fox News Digital.

Elise Stefanik, RN.Y. of the House of Representatives Republican Conference, who met with Netanyahu in Israel when the news first broke Monday, is also urging Congress to provide a legislative response.

She said her bill would “punish those in the ICC who made this unwarranted, undemocratic decision.”

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On the other side of Capitol Hill, pro-Israel hawks in the Senate are just as furious.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said the charges against Netanyahu and Gallant are “politically motivated” and warned: “My colleagues and I look forward to ensuring that neither Khan, his associates, nor their families ever again will set foot in the world. United States.”

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said in a statement: “Today's actions have damaged the court's credibility and seriously harmed legitimate accountability efforts where real war crimes are taking place, such as in Ukraine. Syria and throughout Africa.”

Yahya Sinwar Hamas

Khan is also going after Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. (Mohammed Talatene/Photo Alliance via Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused Khan of lying about his intentions. He said in a statement: “Prosecutor Khan's team would be in Israel today to arrange a meeting with the prosecutor's office next week about the charges. I was told by ICC staff that the investigation would likely last months, not weeks, and that meaningful consultations would take place with the State of Israel. Instead of the ICC continuing the planned consultations with Israel, they announced the arrest warrants.

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Even Democrats all the way to the White House condemned this move – President Biden called the ICC's arrest warrants against Israel “outrageous.”

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., wrote on to suggest otherwise. The ICC's credibility is now in shambles and they have only themselves to blame.”

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