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Can Republicans in Congress punish ICC if it issues Israel arrest warrants?

“Target Israel and we will target you,” lawmakers warn prosecutor Karim Khan, as the court reportedly prepares to indict the Israeli prime minister and other Israeli officials.
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan looks on during an interview with AFP at the Cour d'Honneur of the Palais Royal in Paris on Feb. 7, 2024.

Republicans in both chambers of Congress are uniting in their threat to sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the Hague-based tribunal issues arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials.

Leaders in Washington on both sides of the aisle have consistently warned the ICC in recent weeks not to indict Israeli officials. Netanyahu even directly asked President Joe Biden to help fend off the warrants during a recent call.

But House lawmakers took preemptive action aimed at shielding senior Israeli officials by introducing legislation this week that would reinstate Trump-era sanctions on the ICC. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., serves as the companion to a similar measure introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last year.

“The Trump administration was right to impose sanctions on the associates of the ICC if they dare go after US citizens, servicemembers or our allies. … America's policy should be unquestionably clear: If the ICC goes after our allies, there will be consequences,” Roy said in a statement.

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