France and Belgium Support ICC Request for Arrest Warrants of Israel and Hamas Leaders

AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File
Exterior view of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

France and Belgium released statements supporting the world’s top war crimes court’s request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas, after Israel and the United States both harshly condemned the effort.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel’s isolation over the war in Gaza.

Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing at least seven and wounding several, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The raid into Jenin is part of months of surging violence in the Palestinian territory.

Sri Lanka announced a national day of mourning Tuesday after Iranian officials announced that President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were found dead Monday, hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders. Iran backs Hamas, and the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, also supported by Tehran, has fired rockets at Israel. In April, Iran launched its own an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

At least 35,000 Palestinians have died in the war, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians has been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.