ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, and Hamas leaders. Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Monday, May 20, that the ICC would be seeking arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and Hamas officials on charges of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” on October 7 and during the war on Gaza.

The ICC prosecutor told Amanpour that the application for the arrest warrants, if granted by the ICC’s panel of judges, included Hamas’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, Qassam Brigades commander Muhammad al-Deif, and most notably, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli war minister Yoav Gallant.

The decision comes after ten years of delays and rising anticipation when Palestine first joined the Rome Statute — the international agreement constituent of the ICC — in 2014.

Israel refrained from signing the Rome Statute in 2002 due to fears of being the subject of prosecutions over the illegal status of its settlements in the Palestinian territories. By refraining to sign the Statute, Israel is technically not a member. Palestine’s joining of the agreement in 2014 opened the possibility to investigate Israeli crimes in Palestinian territories. Ever since, Palestinian and international jurists have been building the case for such an investigation, focusing on cases of potential international crimes committed by Israel going back to 2014 (as the court covers crimes committed only during the time of a country’s membership).

In December 2019, then-chief prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda announced the opening of a formal investigation on potential war crimes in Palestine. Bensouda’s successor and current chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, delayed the investigation on Palestine’s file, moving it down in priority since he took office in 2021.

The legal efforts to build the case against Israeli crimes at the ICC were mainly led by Palestinian legal groups through documentation. In October 2021, Israel designated six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist” organizations. Later, Israeli forces raided and ransacked the offices of the organizations and left a military order outlawing the organizations and welding their doors shut.

Last November, a month into Israel’s war on Gaza, three Palestinian human rights groups filed a lawsuit against Israel at the ICC for war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.

In late April, news reports indicated that the ICC was considering issuing arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders. The news came after Israel’s assault on Gaza had killed over 34,000 Palestinians and displaced 90% of the Strip’s population, in addition to causing mass starvation and destroying most of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.

In early May, Axios reported that Israeli officials told the US that Israel will consider the Palestinian Authority responsible if the ICC issued arrest warrants against Israeli officials and imposed retaliatory sanctions on the PA, which could lead to its collapse. According to the reports, the sanctions would include freezing the transfer of customs money to the PA, its main source of income. Axios also revealed that Netanyahu had asked U.S. president Biden to help stop arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, including himself.

Meanwhile, Karim Khan warned in a statement against Israeli and U.S. politicians’ attempts to intimidate the court through threats.

On Monday, Karim Khan’s office finally announced in a statement that it had requested the issuing of arrest warrants against Israel’s Prime Minister and war minister, alongside Sinwar, Haniyeh, and Deif.

The charges against the Hamas leaders, as specified by Khan’s office statement, included “extermination,” “murder,” rape, and torture as crimes against humanity, among others, and “taking hostages,” “cruel treatment,” “inhumane acts,” and “outrages upon personal dignity” as war crimes.As for Netanyahu and Gallant, the charges included “starvation of civilians,” “willfull killing,” “murder,” and intentional attacks against a civilian population as war crimes, and “extermination,” “persecution,” and “other inhumane acts” as crimes against humanity.

A panel of ICC judges will now consider Khan’s request for issuing arrest warrants.

Rebuilding Gaza: Considerations for a Habitable Future  Omar Shaban  IntroductionIsrael’s assault on Gaza has raged on for over seven months, with no end yet in sight. Undoubtedly, the genocide has had a global impact—from Houthi mobilization in the Red Sea, to rising tensions between Israel and Iran, to mass student mobilization across the US and Europe. Still, while the world’s attention may be on Palestine more so than in generations past, it comes at a shattering cost. Indeed, the sheer numbers of fatalities (estimated now at over 35,000), those displaced, and homes destroyed can’t do justice to the level of devastation that Gaza has shouldered since October, 2023.  Even so, it remains necessary for Palestinians to lead the conversation on what comes after Israel’s genocide. To opt out of these discussions is to leave our collective future in the hands of the very people who have sought for decades to erase us. Accordingly, this commentary offers an entry point to a Palestinian dialogue on what may follow after a ceasefire is reached. It does so by delving into the current non-Palestinian “day after” discourse, then by identifying the ways in which today’s reconstruction effort is distinct from those of the past, and finally by putting forth a possible approach to begin to embark on such a project.    Read the full text HERE  

Israel’s Genocide War Against Gaza Continues. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians continue to flee Rafah as Israel’s invasion advances further into the city. Meanwhile, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan seeks arrest warrants for Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the Gaza genocide and October 7.Casualties 35,456 + killed* and at least 79,476 wounded in the Gaza Strip.*506+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.628 Israeli soldiers have been announced as killed by the Israeli army since October 7, and at least 3,475 have been announced as wounded.****Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 19, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on May 19, this is the latest figure.*** These figures are released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded, according to Israeli media reports, exceeds 6,800 as of April 1. Key Developments International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan says the ICC is seeking arrest warrants for PM Benjamin Netanyahu and war minister Yoav Gallant, in addition to Hamas head in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, Hamas politburo head Ismail Haniyeh, and Qassam Brigades commander Muhammad Deif, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity on October 7 and during Israel’s war on Gaza, according to a CNN exclusive interview with Khan on Monday, May 20.Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in addition to six others, die in a helicopter crash on the border with Azerbaijan. The cause of the helicopter crash remains unknown. Israel kills 184 Palestinians, wounds 271 since Thursday, May 16, across Gaza, raising death toll since October 7 to 35,456 and number of wounded to 79,476, according to the Gaza health ministry.Israel’s Benny Gantz threatens to leave the war cabinet if Netanyahu doesn’t stop the war.U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan meets Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant, says Israel needs to have a “political strategy” after the war.UNRWA says half of Gaza’s population is currently forced to flee again after several periods of displacement.Israel bans 3,000 aid trucks from entering Gaza.Palestinian border authority says dozens of wounded died due to closing of crossings.Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry says basic medicines and medical supplies necessary for emergency treatment, surgery, and primary care are completely absent from remaining Gaza hospitals, suffer severe lack in the ministry stock that puts patient lives at risk.Israeli army announces 44 soldiers wounded in the Gaza Strip over the weekend.Israeli forces Palestinian man at West Bank checkpoint.Israeli forces demolish Palestinian residential building near Bethlehem.