Netanyahu must be charged by ICC – Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has predicted that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu will eventually face war crimes charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his country’s offensive in Gaza, as he condemned Western inaction throughout Israel’s ongoing military action in the besieged enclave.
More than 15,800 people, mostly women and children, have so far been killed in Israeli air and ground attacks in Gaza after Netanyahu vowed to “eliminate Hamas” in response to the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 cross-border attack, which killed about 1,200 people and saw 240 hostages seized.
The two warring sides engaged in a truce to facilitate the deployment of international aid in Gaza last week, as well as to oversee the release of Hamas-held hostages in exchange for prisoners held in Israeli jails.
But with the brief accord having ended on Friday as Israel amped up its military action once again, Erdogan said in a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Monday that he expected Netanyahu to one day face a war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
“Beyond being a war criminal, Netanyahu, who is the butcher of Gaza right now, will be tried as the butcher of Gaza, just as Milosevic was tried,” Erdogan said, referencing former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who faced a genocide and war crimes trial beginning in 2002 until his death in 2006.
He added that those who “try to skip over the deaths of all those innocent people by using the excuse of Hamas have nothing left to say to humanity,” and rebuked Israel’s supporters in the West for being “blind and deaf” to the events in Gaza.
Erdogan also stated that Israel’s Western allies are, in effect, giving it “unconditional support to kill babies.”
NATO member Türkiye, unlike many other countries – including several of its allies – does not classify Hamas as an international terrorist organization.
Erdogan also said that a collaboration between the OIC and the Arab League, which held formal talks last month regarding Gaza and relations with Western countries, must continue discussions until the fighting in the enclave is ended. “We must absolutely evaluate the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court within this framework,” he said.
The Turkish president also said that the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France – did not represent the entire world. He complained that the “sincere efforts” of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres were being “sabotaged” by Security Council members, adding that it is “not possible for such a structure to bring peace or hope to humanity."