RELEASE: Gottheimer Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging State and Treasury Department to Sanction ICC Over Decision to Issue Warrants for Israeli Officials

Condemns ICC’s baseless decision and equivocation between Israel and Hamas

May 31, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Friday, May 31, 2024, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced he led a bipartisan letter signed by twenty-five Members of Congress to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, urging the Administration to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) following its recent decision to issue warrants for Israeli officials. The ICC issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier this month. 

The signatory list of twenty-five bipartisan Members of Congress includes Reps. Gottheimer (NJ-5), Bacon (NE-2), Davis (NC-5), D’Esposito (NY-4), Frankel (FL-22), Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3), Golden (ME-2), Gonzalez (TX-34), Kean (NJ-7), LaLota (NY-1), Landsman (OH-1), Lawler (NY-17), Lee (NV-3), Manning (NC-6), Molinaro (NY-19), Moskowitz (FL-23), Norcross (NJ-1), Phillips (MN-3), Schneider (IL-10), Soto (FL-9), Suozzi (NY-3), Titus (NV-1), Torres (NY-15), Vargas (CA-52), and Wasserman Schultz (FL-25).

“The charges against Israeli leaders are baseless. They reflect the ICC’s well-documented historical bias against Israel. The evidence is clear: Hamas terrorists are responsible for wreaking havoc and sowing destruction. Almost eight months ago, terrorists killed, raped, decapitated, burned, and kidnapped more than 1,200 people, including Americans. Hamas has built tunnels under hospitals, launched missiles from homes, and used civilians as human shields. This tragic conflict could end tomorrow if Hamas would put down their weapons, free the hostages, and allow more humanitarian aid into the region. Instead of working toward peaceful, just resolution, the ICC is playing politics,” wrote Congressman Gottheimer (NJ-5) and twenty-four bipartisan Members of Congress in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen. 

The twenty-five members continued, “Above all, these warrants are an affront to due process, a clear maneuver by a biased organization masquerading as a neutral arbiter of justice cannot go without consequences. While we applaud the Administration for its strong words opposing these warrants, action is also required. Just last week, President Biden said, ‘Let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.’ ICC officials have in the past been sanctioned after engaging in a pattern of vindictive and unnecessary investigations. Current ICC officials must be held to the same standard. We urge the Administration to consult with Congress to immediately impose sanctions against the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan and any other officials who have demonstrated undue bias in their actions.”

Full text of the letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen can be found here and below:

May 30, 2024

The Honorable Antony Blinken                             

Secretary

Department of State

2201 C St., NW

Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable Janet Yellen                             

Secretary

Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Blinken and Secretary Yellen:

We write to you today regarding the biased and erroneous arrest warrants the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. We are deeply outraged that the ICC would even attempt to equate democratically elected officials acting in self-defense with terrorist leaders who purposefully and heinously slaughtered innocent civilians, including more than forty Americans. Today, Hamas still holds hostages, including five Americans believed to be alive, and the bodies of three others. 

The charges against Israeli leaders are baseless. They reflect the ICC’s well-documented historical bias against Israel. The evidence is clear: Hamas terrorists are responsible for wreaking havoc and sowing destruction. Almost eight months ago, terrorists killed, raped, decapitated, burned, and kidnapped more than 1,200 people, including Americans. Hamas has built tunnels under hospitals, launched missiles from homes, and used civilians as human shields. This tragic conflict could end tomorrow if Hamas would put down their weapons, free the hostages, and allow more humanitarian aid into the region. Instead of working toward peaceful, just resolution, the ICC is playing politics.

If the pre-trial chamber approves the sham warrants, this will only embolden our adversaries, including the Iranian-backed proxies across the region, to continue their terrorist campaign against freedom and democracy. The ICC’s message gives Hamas further cover to walk away from the table, prolonging negotiations for a pause to release the hostages, including the Americans. 

Above all, these warrants are an affront to due process, a clear maneuver by a biased organization masquerading as a neutral arbiter of justice cannot go without consequences. While we applaud the Administration for its strong words opposing these warrants, action is also required. Just last week, President Biden said, “Let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.” ICC officials have in the past been sanctioned after engaging in a pattern of vindictive and unnecessary investigations. Current ICC officials must be held to the same standard. We urge the Administration to consult with Congress to immediately impose sanctions against the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan and any other officials who have demonstrated undue bias in their actions.  

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

###

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