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Peter Dutton slams Anthony Albanese over Israel

Written by on May 21, 2024

Peter Dutton has slammed Anthony Albanese for failing to condemn the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the Israeli Prime Minister and creating a “false equivalency” with the terrorist organisation Hamas.

The ICC’s move has sparked international condemnation after prosecutor Karim Khan revealed he was seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as top Hamas leaders.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is also pursuing the arrests of three leading Hamas figures, Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri – better known as Mohammed Deif – and Ismail Haniyeh over Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” the US President Joe Biden said in the statement.

“And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Albo ‘squibs it’ on Israel

But when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked about the move today he declined to endorse the US President’s remarks.

“I don’t comment on court processes in Australia, let alone court processes globally in which Australia is not a party,” the Prime Minister said.

Asked if he agreed with Mr Biden’s comments the Prime Minister again declined to comment.

“I just answered the same question,” he said.

“Look, I don’t comment on court proceedings. What we need to concentrate on when it comes to the Middle East is what we have been saying.

“From the time that, on October 7, the terrorist atrocity committed by Hamas – we opposed that. We have called for the release of hostages. We’ve called for a humanitarian ceasefire. We’ve called for increased humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. We’ve said that every life matters, whether it be Israeli or Palestinian.

“And we’ve called for progress towards a 2-state solution. That is where we are concentrating, playing a role where we can in promoting the right of both the Israelis and Palestinians to live in security, in peace, and in prosperity.”

Dutton strongly supports US President’s condemnation

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said he “very strongly” supports comments from US President Joe Biden in relation to the ICC.

“Australia should stand shoulder to shoulder with President Biden,” Mr Dutton said during a media conference on Tuesday.

“He’s shown the strength and the leadership to stand up against this equivalence which is completely and utterly repugnant to compare the Israeli Prime Minister to a terrorist organisation leader and to not have some clarity in relation to it, I think is appalling.

“The Prime Minister had the opportunity at the ICC … instead they sat on the sidelines and had nothing to say.”

“I very strongly support the comments of Joe Biden today in relation to the ICC.

“It’s an abomination and it needs to be ceased.”

What the International Criminal Court statement says

ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC confirmed on Tuesday that he was filing applications for warrants of arrest before Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court in the Situation in the State of Palestine.

“My Office submits that the war crimes alleged in these applications were committed in the context of an international armed conflict between Israel and Palestine, and a non-international armed conflict between Israel and Hamas running in parallel,” he said.

“We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups pursuant to organisational policies. Some of these crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day.

During his own visit to Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, as well as to the site of Supernova Music Festival in Re’im, the prosecutor said he “saw the devastating scenes of these attacks and the profound impact of the unconscionable crimes charged in the applications filed today.”

“Speaking with survivors, I heard how the love within a family, the deepest bonds between a parent and a child, were contorted to inflict unfathomable pain through calculated cruelty and extreme callousness. These acts demand accountability,” he said.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by his office, he said he also had reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin Nentanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav Gallant, the Minister of Defence of Israel, bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine from at least 8 October 2023.

The claims included:

“Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Statute,‘’ he said.

“Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health contrary to article 8(2)(a)(iii), or cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);

“Wilful killing contrary to article 8(2)(a)(i), or Murder as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);

“Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime contrary to articles 8(2)(b)(i), or 8(2)(e)(i);

“Extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;

“My Office submits that the evidence we have collected, including interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, authenticated video, photo and audio material, satellite imagery and statements from the alleged perpetrator group, shows that Israel has intentionally and systematically deprived the civilian population in all parts of Gaza of objects indispensable to human survival,‘’ the prosecutor said.

“My Office submits that these acts were committed as part of a common plan to use starvation as a method of war and other acts of violence against the Gazan civilian population as a means to (i) eliminate Hamas; (ii) secure the return of the hostages which Hamas has abducted, and (iii) collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza, whom they perceived as a threat to Israel.

“The effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare, together with other attacks and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza are acute, visible and widely known, and have been confirmed by multiple witnesses interviewed by my Office, including local and international medical doctors. They include malnutrition, dehydration, profound suffering and an increasing number of deaths among the Palestinian population, including babies, other children, and women.”

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“Israel, like all States, has a right to take action to defend its population. That right, however, does not absolve Israel or any State of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law. Notwithstanding any military goals they may have, the means Israel chose to achieve them in Gaza – namely, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering, and serious injury to body or health of the civilian population – are criminal. ”

The independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met.

If the ICC grants the applications and issues the requested warrants, the prosecutor said he will then work closely with the Registrar in “all efforts to apprehend the named individuals.”