By John Miles,

A group of Republican lawmakers released an open letter threatening officials of the International Criminal Court and their families with reprisal if the body issues arrest warrants against Israeli officials, referencing a US statute commonly referred to as “The Hague Invasion Act.”

IDF tanks rolled into Rafah in southern Gaza Tuesday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to defeat remaining regiments of Hamas he claimed were located there.

The Palestinian city situated on Gaza’s border with Egypt is also home to an estimated 1.7 million Palestinians, most of them refugees from throughout the territory seeking shelter amid Israel’s seven month-long military operation. Observers had hoped ongoing negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders would prevent the invasion, but right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition have repeatedly insisted on an assault on the city.

“Netanyahu and the war cabinet have not appeared to approach the latest phase of negotiations [with Hamas] in good faith,” admitted one Biden administration official after Israel rejected a compromise deal drawn up with the assistance of Egypt and Qatar.

The embattled US president has alternately supported and expressed concern over Israel’s operation in Gaza, walking a tightrope between Zionist and pro-Palestinian constituencies within the Democratic Party. Republicans, meanwhile, have remained mostly united in their enthusiastic backing of Netanyahu in line with the heavy Christian Zionist influence within the party.

“Whither Free Speech? College Campuses Sacrifice Professed Values to Altar of Zionism – Report” Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a visit by President Joe Biden in Warren, Mich., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.04.2024

Republican leaders in the Senate expressed their support this week in an open letter that has raised eyebrows as the tide of public opinion continues to turn against Israel’s deadly Gaza campaign. Author and journalist Robert Fantino joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Tuesday to discuss the surprising statement and Israel’s latest escalation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“This invasion is the apex, or the peak of [Israel’s] genocidal efforts and behavior in Gaza,” lamented Fantino. “It is awful. I’m in contact with a couple of people in Gaza, they’re terrified by the constant bombings. These are people with children, young children who are absolutely terrified, so frightened. The adults are unable to protect them.”

“Egypt does not want them,” he added, noting the concern that Israel will attempt to displace Palestinians into the Sinai Desert. “Egypt believes, rightly, that this number you mentioned – between 50,000 and 250,000 that might flee into Egypt – will be there forever, that there will be no going back to Gaza, that Israel will not allow it. This is a horrifying and shocking event, one that never should have happened.”

Host Garland Nixon noted the letter released by a group of Republican Senators Monday as rumors spread that the International Criminal Court will issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and members of his cabinet responsible for the country’s abuses in Gaza.

The missive threatens “severe sanctions” on both officials of the international body and their family members if the court moves against Israeli officials, referencing a law authorizing the United States to invade ICC premises in The Hague.

A Palestinian looks at the damage to buildings after Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 29, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2024

“When you read that letter, which I have – anybody can go online and find it – it looks like something from the mafia,” said Nixon. “It’s a mafia-style letter. It is the US saying, ‘look, we’re not going to pretend like we’re liberal interventionists and we’re going around the world to do good. You will do what we say or, basically, we’ll come after you and your families.”

“It’s the honest face of US imperialism,” he concluded. “I got to give them credit. That is US imperialism without a mask on.”

“There’s only one difference, Garland, between this and the mafia,” added cohost Wilmer Leon. “The mafia doesn’t send letters.”

“That’s the only difference, and when you look at what the US threatened to do – sanctioning employees, preventing members of the ICC and their families from coming to the United States, and then closing with ‘you have been warned’ – what a threat this is,” responded Fantino. “As you said, mafia, tin-pot dictator kind of behavior.”

“To issue this kind of a threat against an internationally-recognized body whose goal is world justice and the adherence to international law, it does pull the mask off the United States,” he said. “It’s a rogue nation. It believes in might makes right, has no interest in diplomacy, and has no interest in human rights or international law. It holds all those things in contempt.”

Netanyahu has likewise warned the ICC against issuing arrest warrants, claiming that doing so would be an “unprecedented antisemitic hate crime.”



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