Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, March 31, 2024. Photo courtesy of bMarc Israel Sellem/POOL.



In his first substantial response to charges set to be filed with the International Criminal Court, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, May 20, that the allegations were “fallacious.”

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s accusations against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant include starvation of civilians; willfully causing “great suffering”; willful killing; intentionally targeting civilians; extermination and/or murder; persecution; and other “inhumane acts.”

In an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Netanyahu dismissed Khan’s accusations against the Israeli leaders as “beyond outrageous.

False Symmetry

“He said that we deny water? He is making a totally false accusation, here and everywhere else. We are supplying now nearly half of the water of Gaza. We supplied only 7% before the war. This is completely opposite of what he’s saying,” Netanyahu told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“He’s saying we’re starving people? We have supplied half a million tons of food and medicine with 20,000 trucks. This guy is out to demonize Israel. He’s doing a hit job,” continued the premier.

Netanyahu attacked Khan’s decision to demand the arrest of Hamas terror leaders Yahya SinwarIsmail Haniyeh and Mohammed Deif as part of the case, stating, “That’s like saying, after 9/11: ‘Well, I’m issuing arrest warrants for George Bush, but also for Bin Laden. Or after World War II: ‘Well, I’m issuing arrest warrants for FDR, but also for Hitler.”

The British-Pakistani prosecutor is “pouring gasoline on the fires of anti-Semitism that are spreading around the world,” Netanyahu charged.

“He is attacking the one and only Jewish state and trying to handcuff us,” Netanyahu said, adding that Khan is “creating false symmetry, false facts, and he’s doing a grave injustice to the international court.”


Asked about accusations that Jerusalem provoked alleged “famine” in Gaza, Netanyahu told Stephanopoulos that Hamas terrorists are looting the 20,000 aid trucks that the Jewish state has allowed in since Oct. 7.

“We don’t have a deliberate starvation policy,” he said. “In fact, we have the opposite policy: to allow maximum humanitarian aid, to get people out of harm’s way, while Hamas is keeping people in harm’s way.

“We’ve sent billions of text messages, phone calls, leaflets to people, doing something that no army and no government has done in modern urban warfare—giving up the element of surprise,” added Netanyahu.

ICC—Pariah Institution?

The premier stressed that “serious countries,” including the United States, are not taking Khan’s accusations seriously and said he does not fear getting arrested by one of the ICC’s 124 members around the globe.

“I’m not concerned at all about our status. I think that the prosecutor should be concerned about his status, because he’s really turning the ICC into a pariah institution. People are just not going to take it seriously; they’re seeing it as a politicized thing,” Netanyahu claimed.

“I hope the judges don’t confirm what he says, because that will make them into a kangaroo court. Israel is fighting a just war—not only ours, not only our war, we’re fighting the war of all democracies,” he said.

Khan announced his move against Israel during an interview with CNN on Monday. In a statement published after the interview, Khan said he had “reasonable grounds to believe” that Netanyahu and Gallant bear criminal responsibility for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by the IDF since Hamas murdered 1,200 people in Israel.

However, “the independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met,” the statement noted. A panel of three justices from the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I will now consider the prosecutor’s application for the arrest warrants.

A Just Fight

The war crime charges are “not only directed against the prime minister of Israel and against the minister of defense,” Netanyahu warned in an initial response posted to his social media accounts on Monday night. “It is directed against the entire State of Israel. It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with supreme heroism against the vile Hamas murderers.”

“With what audacity do you dare to make a comparison between Hamas—which murdered, burned, butchered, raped and kidnapped our brothers and sisters—and the IDF soldiers who are fighting a just war that is unparalleled, with a morality that is unmatched?” he asked, adding, “I repeat what I said on the eve of Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day] in Jerusalem. As the prime minister of Israel, I pledge that no pressure, no decision, no international forum will prevent us from striking those who seek to destroy us.”