Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Arrest warrant

An arrest warrant has not actually issued against Netanyahu, Gallant, Sinwar, Haniyeh, etc. for war crimes. At least not yet. The prosecutor has just announced that he will seek an arrest warrant against them for war crimes. A judge has to approve the warrant before it issues.

But everyone seems to be treating it like the warrants have already issued. What I find interesting is not the question whether Bibi and Gallant deserve it (in my mind they definitely do) but rather what it says about Israel's place in the world  As much as the ICC talks about universal jurisdiction or how no one is above the law, we definitely live in a tier tier world when it comes to war crimes. U.S. leaders will never be indicted for war crimes, nor will the leaders of certain Western European countries. Xi has presided over a clear case of genocide against the Uighurs but the ICC will never issue a warrant for his arrest. China is just too rich and important. It meant something when the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin. It didn't just mean that he had ordered war crimes (he did!), it meant that Russia was not viewed as all that rich or powerful.

For decades Israel has been included in the first-world club of rich and powerful countries. If a warrant issues for an Israeli leader, one which will probably never be enforced. I doubt if it will mean much in terms of criminal proceedings. No, the biggest meaning is it represents the fact that Israel is no longer viewed as one of those privileged countries.