Biden backs Israel’s Gaza offensive, rejects ‘genocide’ allegations

Biden’s comments came after the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced plans earlier Tuesday to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and several Hamas militant leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

President Joe Biden forcefully rejected accusations of genocide against Israel on Tuesday, as he voiced unwavering U.S. support for the Israeli government’s large-scale military campaign against Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Speaking at a White House event celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, Biden denounced moves by international judicial bodies to prosecute Israeli leaders over actions in the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Biden’s comments came after the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced plans earlier Tuesday to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and several Hamas militant leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ICC move followed a January interim ruling by the UN’s International Court of Justice ordering Israel to prevent genocide and address dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

However, Biden doubled down on Washington’s endorsement of Israel’s military offensive, which Palestinian authorities say has killed over 35,000 people and left nearly 80,000 wounded since its launch in retaliation for a deadly Hamas incursion into Israel last October.

The rhetoric highlighted the Biden administration’s uncompromising backing of Israel’s right to self-defence, even as its Gaza operation faces mounting international condemnation for alleged disproportionate civilian casualties.

Several U.S. allies including Ireland, Egypt, and the plaintiff in the ICJ case – South Africa – have sharply criticized Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as a violation of international humanitarian law.

Still, with bipartisan support enshrined in Congress, the United States has firmly sided with its closest Middle East ally and blocked efforts to rein in Israel’s military actions through sanctions or arms embargoes.

As civilian deaths mount in the impoverished Gaza Strip, the White House shows no signs of pressuring Netanyahu to de-escalate the nearly 8-month offensive.

Israel has vowed the assault will continue until Hamas, the militant group ruling Gaza since 2007, is fully dismantled – setting the stage for potentially months or years of further bloodshed.