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Britain must arrest Israeli Prime Minister if ICC approves warrants, former foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan says

21 May 2024, 18:16 | Updated: 21 May 2024, 18:33

Sir Alan Duncan has told LBC Britain must arrest Benjamin Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court approves a warrant.
Sir Alan Duncan has told LBC Britain must arrest Benjamin Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court approves a warrant. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Britain must arrest Benjamin Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court approves a warrant for him, Sir Alan Duncan has told LBC.

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The former Tory foreign office minister insisted that Britain cannot dodge such a ruling if judges approve it.

Britain is a signatory of the International Criminal Court, which has sought arrest warrants for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders.

It would mean authorities would be under a duty to arrest him if he set foot on British soil.

But Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Rishi Sunak have dismissed the calls.

When asked if Britain should arrest the Israeli PM if a warrant was granted, Sir Alan told LBC: "Yes. I would, because we are a signatory to the ICC.

"Israel and the US are not, therefore if you are a signatory to an international judicial treaty of this sort, you should uphold your obligations

"If, under that, we were obliged to arrest, then the answer is yes."

US President Joe Biden has said it's "outrageous" to try and conflate the two leaders.

Sir Alan, who was put under investigation by the Tory Party for calling Mr Gove and other senior Tories "extremist", insisted that he should not be challenging "international law".

Read more: Relatives of hostages held by Hamas after October 7 attacks urge Israeli government to reach ceasefire

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Sir Alan Duncan has said Britain must arrest the Israeli Prime Minister if the ICC approves warrants.
Sir Alan Duncan has said Britain must arrest the Israeli Prime Minister if the ICC approves warrants. Picture: Alamy

He told LBC: "It's not for me or anyone to decide if they are granted, but it is for us to go along with international law.

"I don't think there is moral equivalence here, that's the language of Israel, not the court.

"Both are deserving of arrest warrants for doing different things."

And he suggested his attack on the ICC was a "breach of collective responsibility".

Sir Alan also hit out at Mr Gove for his speech on anti-semitism earlier today - accusing him of "stirring things up" and attacking him for comparing the rise in incidents to the Nazis.

He also suggested that the number of anti-semitic incidents could be exaggerated.

He said: "I think the incidents of anti-semitism are perhaps not as great as reported.

"Where it exists, it's not acceptable.

"I am not playing down.... I don't know."

The ICC said it is seeking an arrest warrant for Mr Netanyahu.
The ICC said it is seeking an arrest warrant for Mr Netanyahu. Picture: Alamy

Mr Gove said in a speech earlier on Tuesday that there were chilling echoes of Nazi Germany today, as he spoke about the rise of anti-semitic incidents on the streets, including intimidation of Jewish students at British Universities.

But Sir Alan, who is under investigation by the Conservative Party, said he stood by his previous comments about top Tory figures.

He said: "He takes a very ardant view, he will never stand up and condemn illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He denies that international law, I think that's very improper for a Cabinet minister in any government...

"Those figures that refuse to uphold up international law, are, I think... on the wrong side of the line... they are the extremists in our midst, who I think should be called out more."

He said of Mr Gove: "He always goes over the top... he's been stirring things up in a very unpleasant way.

"I've made my views clear in the past... I think those figures at the top of the Conservative party who refuse to uphold international law are on the wrong side of the law."

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