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Wanted By International Criminal Court, Netanyahu To Address Congress

Above photo: Reuters.

France and Germany have both backed the recent ICC decision.

US officials threaten ‘aggressive’ sanctions against The Hague-based court.

Mike Johnson, Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said on 23 May that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will soon address a joint meeting of the Congress.

“Tonight, I’m happy to announce … we will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress,” Johnson said during a speech at an Israeli embassy event.

Johnson said during the speech that Netanyahu’s upcoming address will be “a strong show of support for the Israeli government in their time of greatest need.”

The announcement comes as officials from the administration of US President Joe Biden have made increasingly critical comments on Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

Despite Biden’s continued support for the Israeli war effort, Johnson is a critic of his administration’s policy toward Israel. Netanyahu’s speech at Congress is expected to draw the ire of some Democrats who have spoken out about Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

Speaking at the same event, a US Democratic Representative said, “As Americans, we reaffirm our commitment to Israel’s sovereignty.”

Both officials condemned the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Johnson also said on Thursday that the US “should punish the ICC and put Karim Khan back in his place. If the ICC is allowed to threaten Israel’s leaders, we know that the US will be next. There is a reason we never endorsed the ICC, because it is a direct affront to our own sovereignty.”

The decision – which also includes calls for warrants against Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammad Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh – has created an uproar in Washington, with Republican members of the US House of Representatives working on a sanctions package against the ICC.

“Congress is reviewing our options right now, we have some very aggressive legislation that were going to push as soon as possible, it will include sanctions. If the ICC moves forward with its absurd request, this is going to be a bigger international problem,” Johnson added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on 21 May that he is willing to help Congress impose sanctions against ICC officials over their request for arrest warrants against the Israeli officials.

EU leaders have taken a more balanced approach towards the ICC decision.

Germany said on Wednesday that if the ICC goes ahead and issues the warrants, it would arrest the Israeli premier if he set foot on German soil.

France said earlier that week that it backs the ICC in the “fight against impunity.”

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