US President Joe Biden has condemned the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) recent move to issue arrest warrants for key Israeli and Hamas figures as outrageous. The ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, has been pursuing warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, alongside three senior Hamas leaders: Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. The charges pertain to alleged crimes committed during Hamas’ attack on 7 October and Israel’s subsequent war on Gaza.

In his strongest remarks in months, Biden accused the ICC of creating a false moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2006. “The ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” Biden stated, emphasising that there is no comparison between Israel’s actions and those of Hamas.

The President reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security, declaring, “We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Biden expressed these sentiments during a speech commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month. “I will always ensure that Israel has everything it needs to defend itself against Hamas and all its enemies,” he said.

The ICC’s pursuit of arrest warrants has sparked controversy among Israel’s allies.

Germany aligned with the US, calling the ICC’s move a “false equivalence” between Hamas leaders and Israeli officials. On the other hand, South Africa welcomed the ICC’s decision, with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office stating that the law must apply equally to uphold the international rule of law and ensure accountability.

The ICC’s move coincides with a separate case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), initiated by South Africa, accusing Israel of genocide in response to last October’s attack, which Israel denies.

The Biden administration’s support for Israel follows tensions over Israeli plans for an offensive in Rafah, Gaza. Biden warned he would withhold U.S. weapons if Netanyahu ordered a major invasion. Since the start of its military offensive in Gaza, Israel has killed over 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.