Progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told Qatar’s Al-Araby TV last week that she implored the Biden administration to support Israel’s referral to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
“The US should not de-legitimize the ICC and the things it must do,” she said. “It is shocking that the legitimacy of the ICC is something that is being questioned.” The court’s ability to “investigate, probe and render justice” was being undermined in the United States, she added.
The ICC’s pre-trial chamber ruled in a 2-1 decision on February 5 that the court’s jurisdiction extends to “the territories occupied by Israel since 1967,” meaning the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), including east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
The decision means the ICC can now launch an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in each of these areas. The ruling drew sharp and immediate criticism, both in Israel and the United States, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “pure antisemitism,” while the US State Department issued a formal objection.
Neither Israel nor the United States is a signatory of the Rome Statute that established the court.
When asked about the future of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Omar implied that she and her progressive colleagues were playing a long strategic game. “It doesn’t currently seem like a lot will be changed, but there will be an opportunity for us to push for the United States to stand for its values and principles.”
She also approved of the Biden administration’s removal of the “terrorist” designation from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, a move that seems premature at best considering the massive uptick in violence over the last two weeks or so as the group pushes to take Marib, the internationally recognized Yemeni government’s last northern stronghold.