ICC prosecutor ‘equates the victim with the executioner’ in proposing arrest warrants for Israeli prime minister and leaders of Hamas


YESTERDAY, Karim Khan KC, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), issued a statement proposing that arrest warrants be issued for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant over allegations of war crimes committed in Gaza.

These charges include ‘starvation of civilians as a method of warfare … intentionally directing attacks against civilian population … wilfully causing great suffering … Persecution as a crime against humanity’ and ‘extermination and/or murder’.

Along with Netanyahu and Gallant, Khan includes  Hamas leaders in the arrest warrant request – Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader; Mohamed Diab Ibrahim al-Masari, chief of the military wing of Hamas; and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas political bureau.

By proposing ICC judges issue arrest warrants against leaders of Hamas, Khan is equating the genocidal crimes being committed as state policy by the Zionist regime with the struggle of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas against an occupying enemy.

Equating the violence of the oppressor with the justifiable violence of the oppressed has always been the preferred option of world imperialism in justifying its crimes against humanity.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters news agency that this decision to seek arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders ‘equates the victim with the executioner’.

He also said that the ICC decision actually gives encouragement to Israel to continue its ‘war of extermination’ in Gaza.

In fact, the right of oppressed people to resistance and armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is specifically endorsed under international law.

In 1982, the UN General Council passed a resolution reaffirming ‘the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from all colonial and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.’

This right of the oppressed to fight the oppressor may be enshrined in international law but it is being consciously ignored by the ICC prosecutor, who appears to equate a genocidal Zionist regime that has, to date, murdered over 35,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children, in Gaza with the attack launched by Hamas on October 7th.

By lumping the Palestinian resistance movement in with the leadership of the Zionist genocidal regime, the ICC chief prosecutor will certainly give encouragement to the Israeli regime to carry on its war of extermination in Gaza while ignoring the ICC whose jurisdiction Israel doesn’t recognise.

It will also be used by the Tories to declare that any support for Palestine amounts to support for ‘terrorism’ and give added justification to the move to outlaw all pro-Palestinian demonstrations and any group that calls for action to end UK support for the Zionist state.

Already, the Tories are preparing this week to carry out a full scale attack on support for Palestine and opposition to the genocidal war in Gaza by  granting extensive new powers to the police to shut down pro-Palestinian marches.

These plans are being rushed through in anticipation of the publication of an official review by Lord Walney the Tory ‘independent’ advisor on political violence and disruption. Walney, an ex-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, is reported to be recommending measures to clamp down on the activities of ‘hard-left’ groups and pro-Palestinian marches.

One of these recommendations, leaked to the Telegraph, is for a new legal classification to ‘curtail’ the activities of groups which ‘interfere with the rights of others’ or ‘impede the proper functioning of democratic institutions or business’.

This involves sanctions to limit the ability of any group designated by the Tories as organising to ‘impede’ the right of the Tories to support and arm the Zionist regime and the right of all the UK companies to carry on providing equipment and technology used in the barbaric war being waged in Gaza.

The Palestinians have an absolute right to fight against their oppressors, and the working class and youth have the absolute right to take action to support them.

The time has come to take action in support of Palestine by demanding the TUC immediately call a general strike to bring down the Tory government and replace it with a workers government that will support the arming of the Palestinian masses in the struggle to throw off their oppressor and establish the State of Palestine.