Genocide in Gaza: ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israeli and Palestinian Leaders

Genocidio en Gaza: Fiscal en jefe de la CPI solicita órdenes de arresto para líderes israelíes y palestinos

Génocide à Gaza : le procureur général de la CPI demande des mandats d’arrêt contre les dirigeants israéliens et palestiniens

Genocídio em Gaza: Procurador-Geral do TPI solicita mandados de captura para dirigentes israelitas e palestinianos

ICC의 이스라엘 및 팔레스타인 지도자들에 대한 체포영장 청구에 대하여

Genocidio di Gaza: il procuratore capo della CPI chiede mandati di arresto per i leader israeliani e palestinesi

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), jointly issued by the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine) and the International Bureau of the RCIT, 21.05.2024, and

1.           The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, announced yesterday that he seeks arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Palestine over war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Gaza War. These concerns Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, as well as Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh from Hamas – the leading force of the Palestinian resistance.

2.           To recognize the meaning of this event, one must understand the nature of the ICC. Formally, this is the world’s top war crimes court. It is an imperialist institution, established by the United Nations in 2002 at the height of America’s global hegemony. While it is formally a global institution, it is a typical product of the hypocritical imperialist order led by Western powers which dominated the world after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Hence, until now, it never prosecuted any Western leaders – despite their numerous war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan – but only adversaries of the U.S. and Western Europe like Russian President Putin or African leaders.

3.           It is therefore not surprising that Khan wants to prosecute leaders of Hamas. They are hated by American and European imperialism because the fighters of Hamas (as well as many other Palestinian factions) play a heroic role in defending Palestine against the Zionist occupation forces. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its section in Israel/Occupied Palestine – the Internationalist Socialist League – strongly condemn such arrest warrants. This is a reactionary provocation and an insult to the Palestinian people striving for liberation. Hamas is correct in saying that the request to arrest its leaders “equates the victim with the executioner” and that it gives encouragement to Israel to continue its “war of extermination” in Gaza. At the same time, we make clear that we neither share the politics of Hamas – a petty-bourgeois Islamist organisation – nor do we condone all its activities.

4.           However, the real sensation is that this time, the ICC prosecutor also wants to try the two most important figures of the Israeli state. This decision has sent shockwaves to the political elite in Israel as well as to the U.S. and other Western countries. The Times of Israel called it “the most shocking legal bombshell in Israel’s history”, the Jerusalem Post spoke about “a disaster of mammoth proportions”, U.S. President Biden said that this “is outrageous” and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani condemned it as “unacceptable”.

5.           Still, this unprecedented decision does not come out of the blue but is the results from two profound developments which, as the RCIT pointed out repeatedly, have dramatically changed the world situation in the past seven months.

i) First, we are experiencing a terrific upswing of global class struggle, reflected on one hand, in the heroic struggle of the Palestinian resistance which has successfully resisted the Zionist butchers and prevented them until today, with maximum sacrifice, to conquer the small Gaza strip. On the other hand, the events on 7 October and Israel’s genocide in Gaza have triggered a huge global pro-Palestine solidarity movement which is active on all continents, and which regularly mobilises hundreds of thousands of people on the streets. This mass movement has been mostly based on the popular masses in the Muslim world as well as on migrant workers and youth in Western countries. More recently, they have been joined by a new mass movement of students which are protesting at dozens of universities all over the world. In short, we are at the beginning of a movement similar to the great events in 1968.

ii) This upswing in global class struggle goes hand in hand with a deepening of the crisis of the imperialist world order which is characterised by a) a massive decline in U.S. hegemony, b) the rise of new imperialist powers like China and Russia, c) increasing tensions between European state leaders who loyally continue to support Israel’s genocidal policy and those who call for a more critical and independent position, and d) a more independent position of semi-colonial countries of the Global South. A number of the latter have become less willing to follow Washington’s lead and, at the same time, develop closer relations with China and Russia; such a process of transitions make several of these countries also more open to the pressure of popular mass protests.

6.           The result of all these developments is a dramatic blow for the Zionist Apartheid and Terror state. Never before has Israel and its fanatic supporters around the globe been as isolated as it is now. There has been a massive shift in public opinion, and it is certainly no exaggeration to say that “the world condemns Israel’s genocide in Gaza.” It is because of these developments that even an institution dominated by Western imperialism has been forced to discuss arrest warrants for Israel’s leaders. This further deprives the Zionist war criminals of any formal legitimacy for its mass slaughter of the Palestinian people. At the same time, there is no doubt that this will encourage pro-Palestine mass protests even more.

7.           Nevertheless, the RCIT and the ISL warn against any illusions in imperialist institutions like the UN or the ICC. These are institutions which have been created by the Great Powers, which are ultimately under their control, and which can, to a certain degree, divert from their pro-imperialist line only under the utmost pressure of the popular masses. This is why we don’t advocate appeals to such institutions. However, while we strongly denounce the arrest warrants against the three Palestinian resistance leaders, we certainly do not oppose bringing war criminals like Netanyahu and Gallant to jail. At the same time, we warn that any real justice could only be brought if these mass murderers would be put before a popular trial, elected by the oppressed and the victims of Israeli state terrorism.

8.           Palestine can not be liberated by imperialist institutions but only by the international liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed peoples. The global pro-Palestine solidarity movement must intensify its efforts to boycott Israel and to weaken pro-Zionist governments. They must aim to win the trade unions to launch effective actions in order to sabotage any weapons deliveries to and trade with the Zionist monster. We reiterate that the only way forward is the revolutionary destruction of the Israeli Apartheid state and the creation of a free and red Palestine from the River to the Sea which should be part of a socialist federation of the Middle East.

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