US senator backs ICC arrest warrants for Israeli leaders

US Senator Bernie Sanders expressed support for the requests by International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and urged the US to respect international law.

"The ICC as I see it is trying to uphold international law and minimum standards of decency. Our government should do no less," Sanders told the Senate floor Tuesday night.

His remarks came after Khan applied for arrest warrants on Monday for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three leaders of the Palestinian group Hamas for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Sanders said that when the ICC declared Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal last year, the US government welcomed its decision.

"Some have argued that it is unfair to compare the democratically elected head of the Israeli government to Putin, who runs an authoritarian system...Yes, democratically elected officials can commit war crimes," he said.

"The ICC is doing its job. It’s doing what it is supposed to do. We cannot only apply international law when it is convenient," Sanders added.

He reminded the senators that more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed and almost 80,000 injured since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7 last year.

Stressing that Israel has the right to go after Hamas, Sanders said: "But Netanyahu and his government do not have the right to wage an all-out war against the children, against the women, against the innocent people of Gaza. And for that, there must be consequences."

"What the ICC has done is important for the global community, in the sense that we cannot allow the human race to descend to barbarity," he added.

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