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Netanyahu to skip Europe stopover on way to US amid fears of arrest due to ICC warrant

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his Europe stopover on his way to the United States, over fears that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was preparing an arrest warrant against him over the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s office decided against stopovers in either the Czech Republic or Hungary, both recognized as allies of Israel, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

His office said in the end he will travel directly to Washington with a limited number of passengers on board. Netanyahu is expected to address Congress on July 24 and also meet US President Joe Biden in the White House.

Netanyahu was about to visit the Czech Republic and Hungary, while going to the US, but will now, instead of the stopovers, he will travel directly with a limited entourage to Washington, DC,

If the ICC approves the chief prosecutor’s plea for an arrest warrant, Netanyahu must be detained by the Czech Republic and Hungary. Both countries are among the 124 States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court., and are therefore obligated to arrest Netanyahu if he steps on their territory.

Israel is not a signatory of the ICC’s Rome Statute, and neither is its ally the United States.

White House worried about Netanyahu’s upcoming speech at Congress: Report

White House worried about Netanyahu’s upcoming speech at Congress: Report

The White House is reportedly worried that the Israeli premier could stage a “politically dicey spectacle” just months ahead of the US presidential election.

In May, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, made a formal request for arrest warrants to be issued against Netanyahu and Israeli minister of military affairs, Yoav Gallant, on charges of war crimes.

Both Netanyahu and Gallant face accusations, including the crimes of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

The ICC was founded in 2002 as an independent global organization with no ties to the United Nations, and its rulings carry legal weight.

Local media outlets suggested on Thursday that Hungary is currently mulling the possibility of pulling out from the ICC, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban instructed three ministers to “investigate what kind of consequences may be encountered in case of Hungary’s withdrawal from being a party” to the ICC.

Hungary would stand alone as the sole European Union member state not affiliated with the ICC if it chooses to exit the court.

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