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Netanyahu To Address US Congress As ICC Seeks Arrest Warrant For Israeli PM Over War Crimes

The invitation comes as the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeks arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Netanyahu, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | AP Photo
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to address the US Congress, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has announced, amid heightened tensions with US President Joe Biden over the Israeli leader's handling of the war in Gaza.

“Tonight, I’m happy to announce something else to you: that we will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress,” Johnson said in a speech marking Israel’s independence, hosted by the Israeli Embassy.

“This will be a timely and, I think, a very strong show of support to the Israeli government in their time of greatest need,” he added.

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The invitation comes as the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeks arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Netanyahu, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC is an international Court that prosecutes individuals for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Separately, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is preparing to rule on a request by South Africa to order Israel to implement a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, part of a wider case accusing Israel of genocide. The ICJ is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations, and its rulings are final and binding, although it has no enforcement powers. 

South Africa’s lawyers have asked the court to impose emergency measures, and said Israel’s attacks on the southern Gaza city Rafah “must be stopped” to ensure the survival of the Palestinian people.

Israel has dismissed the ICC's accusations as baseless, arguing that its operations in Gaza are self-defence and targeted at Hamas militants who attacked Israel on 7 October.

At least 35,800 Palestinians have been killed and 80,011 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since 7 October, according to Palestinian health officials. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to worsen, with aid agencies warning of a catastrophic situation.

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