UK Conservative government would ‘defy’ ICC Israel arrest warrants: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden says his party would reject warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant

MEE staff

British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden speaks during a visit to Abu Dhabi in February (Reuters/Abdelhadi Ramahi)
British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden speaks during a visit to Abu Dhabi in February (Reuters/Abdelhadi Ramahi)

The UK’s Conservative party would defy any arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if re-elected in July, British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has told the Jewish Chronicle. 

The British minister criticised the ICC’s decision to file for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

On 20 May, the ICC announced that it was seeking arrest warrants for the two Israelis and for three leaders of Hamas, on the grounds of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Dowden said he would “question the applicability of ICC arrest warrants to serving heads of state”, adding that the British government “vigorously disputed” the move because “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

Asked by the Jewish Chronicle whether the government would comply with any warrant against the Israeli prime minister, Dowden said it would not.

The Conservative politician also attacked what he called the opposition Labour party’s “equivocation” on Israel, saying it contrasted with the “robust” backing provided by the Tories. 

US envoy suggests UK’s Starmer would not respect ICC Israel arrest warrants

Read More »

“Israel was attacked by Iran for the first time in the history of the United Kingdom. It was this government that stood up and supported Israel,” he said. “I think you can see that commitment.”

Iran launched a large-scale attack on Israel on 13 April, firing more than 300 drones and missiles towards the country, most of which were intercepted. 

It was Iran’s first direct military assault on Israeli territory. The operation was conducted in response to Israeli strikes on the Iranian consular building in Syria earlier in the month that killed seven of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers, including two senior commanders.

In his interview, Dowden also lashed out at the BBC, criticising the British broadcaster for refusing to refer to Hamas fighters as terrorists. 

“The single biggest thing they could do is just say, totally unequivocally, that Hamas are a terrorist organisation, not an organisation that the UK government describes as terrorists,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *