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Israel PM calls arrest warrant 'new antisemitism' as Palestinians killed in West Bank

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel Tuesday, May 21, 2024.
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Copyright Leo Correa/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Leo Correa/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the International Criminal Court's decision to seek an arrest warrant for him and Hamas leaders, while Israeli forces have shot dead at least seven in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu and allies slam ICC prosecutor's decision

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Israel's prime minister has reacted angrily to an announcement that the ICC is seeking an arrest warrant against him.

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant were responsible for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

"This is exactly what the new antisemitism looks like, it has moved from the campuses in the West to the court in The Hague. What a shame," Israel's leader said in a television address.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan on decision to seek arrest warrant for Netanyahu

The ICC is also looking into issuing arrest warrants for three senior Hamas figures, including the group’s leader in Gaza Yehya Sinwar on similar charges, 

The comparison between Netanyahu and the senior Hamas figures has enraged the Israeli leader who commented, "With what audacity do you dare compare the monsters of Hamas to the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world?"

In a written statement, US president Joe Biden also called the decision outrageous and said there was "no equivalence" between Israel and Hamas.

Mixed reactions to ICC decision in Tel Aviv

There was a mixed reaction to the news on the streets of Tel Aviv, the city that has seen weeks of mass anti-government protests. 

Protesters are demanding that Netanyahu's administration does more to secure the release of the hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, Tel Aviv, May 18, 2024
People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, Tel Aviv, May 18, 2024Leo Correa/Copyright 2024 The AP All rights reserved

"I want the hostages to return alive, as soon as possible. If this arrest warrant, or an arrest that will follow it, will expedite it, I am in favour of it," said Israeli citizen Gal Sne.

But other protesters criticised the move.  

"I don’t understand in what world we are living in where there is symmetry between leaders of a terror organisation who committed mass slaughter to heads of state who were elected in a democratic way," said Inbar Goldstein.

There was a muted response to the ICC announcement among Palestinians in central Gaza.

"We want international resolutions that are decisive. Decisive so that they solve matters and problems. We are the victims although we have nothing to do with Israel or Hamas. What is my guilt or my children's guilt? This is not fair, for God's sake," said Sami Abu Zeid.

Israeli forces kill at least 7 in the West Bank

Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, killing at least seven Palestinians - including a doctor - according to local authorities.

The IDF said its forces struck militants during an operation which took place in the Jenin refugee camp adjacent to the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. 

The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least seven people were killed and another nine wounded. Their identities were not immediately known. 

Nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, since the start of the Israel Hamas war on 7 October. 

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Jewish settlers have orchestrated attacks against Palestinians in recent months, with some filmed gunning down civilians. There has been violence from the Palestinian side too. 

Palestinians accuse Israel of claiming the land as their own, which they see as part of their future independent state. Israel has arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians since the start of the war in Gaza. 

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, along with East Jerusalem - which it later annexed.

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