The ICC said it had evidence to charge Benjamin Netanyahu with crimes against humanity - ABIR SULTAN/AFP

The ICC said it had evidence to charge Benjamin Netanyahu with crimes against humanity - ABIR SULTAN/AFP

The Telegraph:  France has backed the International Criminal Court’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli officials, in stark contrast to British and American disapproval.

The ICC said it had evidence to charge Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Yoav Gallant, his defence minister, with crimes against humanity, including using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. It also applied for the arrest of Hamas leaders on charges including torture and taking hostages.

France said it supported the ICC’s “independence and the fight against impunity in all situations”.

The foreign ministry “condemned the anti-Semitic massacres perpetrated by Hamas” during the attack on Israel on Oct 7, which was “accompanied by acts of torture and sexual violence”.

It said it had warned Israel “of the need for strict compliance with international humanitarian law, and in particular of the unacceptable level of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip and inadequate humanitarian access”.

Belgium and Slovenia also backed the move.

But Britain, America, Italy and the Czech Republic were among those who criticised the court’s decision.

Rishi Sunak described the application for arrest warrants as “deeply unhelpful”.

Speaking in Vienna, the Prime Minister said that it would make no difference to getting aid into Gaza and reaching a sustainable ceasefire.

“This is a deeply unhelpful development,” Mr Sunak said. “Of course, it is still subject to a final decision, but it remains deeply unhelpful nonetheless.”

“There is no moral equivalence between a democratic state exercising its lawful right to self-defence and the terrorist group Hamas. It is wrong to conflate and equivocate between those two different entities.”

The Prime Minister’s remarks echoed those of Joe Biden, who condemned the ICC’s effort to seek the arrest of Mr Netanyahu as “outrageous”.

Unlike Israel and the United States, the UK Government is a signatory to the ICC and would be obliged to respect any warrant should its subject visit Britain.

David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, said that the ICC drawing a parallel between Israel and Hamas was “plain wrong”.

“Frankly I think this was a mistake in terms of position, in terms of timing, in terms of effect,” he said.

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