‘We Abide by the Law’ – Germany Says It Would Detain Netanyahu if ICC Arrest Warrant is Issued

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with German chancellor Olaf Scholz. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The spokesperson for the German government has said they would “of course” abide by an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest order for Israeli officials if approved.

Steffen Hebestreit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesperson, was responding to a question from a reporter at a press conference on Wednesday on whether the German government would execute an ICC arrest order against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes.

Hebestreit reportedly said, “Of course. Yes, we abide by the law.”

Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced on Monday that his office had filed applications for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as leaders of the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza. Khan said his team has applied for the warrants with the court’s pre-trial chamber and a panel of judges will decide on granting the warrants.


The question to Hebestreit followed a post the previous day on X by Israel’s Ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, in which he appealed to the German government to “readjust” the ICC’s “compass”.

“An impertinence! Now the ‘Staatsräson’ is being put to the test – without any ifs or buts. In contrast to this are the wishy-washy statements we hear from some institutions and political actors. The claim that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility when our hands are tied as soon as we exercise it.”

Staatsräson, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post, “is the German word that refers to Germany’s pledge to ensure Israel’s security is part of its national security and interests.”

The paper said former German Chancellor Angela Merkel “declared during her 2008 Knesset speech that Israel is part of Germany’s raison d’etre—or state of being.”

The ambassador further stated: “The chief prosecutor equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass. Germany has the responsibility to realign this compass. This shameful political campaign could be the nail in the coffin for the West and its institutions. Don’t let it come to that!

‘Crimes Against Humanity’

According to Khan, the top Israeli officials could be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu, 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 (in the Gaza strip) from at least 8 October 2023,” the statement read.

On Monday, the German Foreign Ministry stated in response to the announcement that it “respects the independence and procedures” of the ICC, noting some concerns.

“In this case, the Pre-Trial Chamber now has to decide on the applications of the Prosecutor for the issuance of arrest warrants as a first step,” the statement said.

“The court will have to answer a number of difficult questions, including the question of its jurisdiction and the complementarity of investigations between constitutional states affected, such as Israel.”

ICC Arrest Warrants for Israeli, Hamas Leaders- Global Reaction

It added that “the simultaneous application for arrest warrants against Hamas leaders on the one hand and two Israeli officials  on the other has created the incorrect implication of equivalence.”

“Nevertheless, the Court will now have two very different situations to assess, as presented in detail by the Prosecutor in his applications.”

Norway became the first European country on Tuesday to declare that it would arrest Netanyahu and Gallant if an arrest warrant was issued against them by the ICC and they entered Norwegian territory.

Over 35,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 35,800 Palestinians have been killed, and 80,011 wounded in the ongoing genocide.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

‘If Arrest Warrants are Issued, We Will Detain Netanyahu, Gallant’ – Norway

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million Palestinians.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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  1. Can anyone explain why the statistics of the dead and wounded have not changed since january

    • Dear Kim, the numbers are updated every day, on both the published news and the top right red box. – The Palestine Chronicle

  2. “On Monday, the German Foreign Ministry stated in response to the announcement that it “respects the independence and procedures” of the ICC, noting some concerns.” So it should. The independence of the (German) judiciary was one of the first victims of the Nazi takeover in 1933. When a nation refuses to respect teh independence of the judiciary – such as the US is currently doing – then we have reason to doubt its commitment to democratic principles.

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