China hopes ICC to uphold objective view on Palestine-Israel conflict

BEIJING: China on Tuesday said it hopes that the ICC will uphold an objective and fair stance and exercise its powers in accordance with the law after the International Criminal Court (ICC) applied for arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders.

Some Chinese experts said the ICC seeking Israel and Hamas warrants serves more of a symbolic pressure as its enforcement mechanism faces challenges. Yet, they noted the move will still increase moral and public pressure against Israel, leading to greater scrutiny under international law.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said on Monday that his office had applied for arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders for alleged crimes committed during the Hamas-led October 7 attack on southern Israel and Israel’s subsequent war on Gaza, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

Khan announced his office had “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant bear “criminal responsibility” for “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the media report said.

“We have noted relevant reports. We want to stress that the international community has overwhelming consensus on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and ending the humanitarian crisis suffered by the Palestinians,” Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Tuesday. The collective punishment of the Palestinian people should not continue any longer, Wang noted.

China has always stood on the side of fairness and justice and on the side of international law on the Palestinian issue. We support all efforts of the international community to promote a comprehensive, fair and lasting solution to the issue, the spokesperson said, noting that China hopes the ICC will uphold an objective and fair stance and exercise its powers in accordance with the law.

Both the US and Israel rejected the latest ICC act, as US President Joe Biden called the application for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Gallant “outrageous,” and Netanyahu said the ICC decision was a disgrace and an attack on Israel.

The application was made as Gaza has been undergoing an intensifying humanitarian crisis with the living conditions continuing to deteriorate in certain parts of Rafah and as the number of causalities continues to increase, according to a UN Security Council briefing on Monday.

Some political figures like Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) party, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the reaction of the US toward the warrant application highlights the hypocrisy of the Biden administration – “previously praising the ICC for issuing an arrest warrant against Putin while now describing the decision to apply for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant as outrageous.”

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