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US allies France, Belgium defend ICC prosecutor’s request for Israeli arrest warrants



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France, Belgium and other European allies are expressing support for the International Criminal Court amid ongoing demands from the U.S. to drop accusations of war crimes against Israel.

Protestations from the U.S. and Israel began after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan filed applications for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders for alleged «war crimes.«

«France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations,» the nation’s foreign ministry said Monday.

Slovenia also spoke out in support of the ICC, saying «accountability is crucial» in addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict.


Karim Khan announced Monday his intentions to pursue charges against both the Israeli government and Hamas leaders. (Getty Images)

«War crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and Palestine from at least Oct.7 2023 must be prosecuted independently and impartially regardless of the perpetrators,» the foreign ministry of Slovenia said in a statement posted Monday to social media. «Accountability is crucial to prevent atrocities and to guarantee peace.»

«Belgium supports the work of the International Criminal Court,» Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Labib said in a statement posted to social media. «The request submitted by the Court’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, for arrest warrants against both Hamas and Israeli officials is an important step in the investigation of the situation in Palestine.

Germany expressed hesitation at the accusations placed against Israeli leadership, saying, «The simultaneous application for arrest warrants against the Hamas leaders on the one hand and the two Israeli officials on the other has given the false impression of equivalence.»

Khan said his office had collected evidence to give «reasonable grounds» to believe Netanyahu and Gallant «bear criminal responsibility for… war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine.» 


Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks out against the ICC’s announcement to pursue an arrest warrant against him over alleged war crimes in Gaza. (Government Press Office)

Khan said those alleged crimes include «starvation of civilians as a method of warfare» and «intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.» 

He said he is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and its military commander Mohammed Deif. 

The Israeli government has rebuked the ICC’s handling of the situation.

«I reject with disgust the Hague prosecutor’s comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas,» Netanyahu said.


Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff

President Biden speaks as Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff listen during a Jewish American Heritage Month event on Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP)

«It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with extraordinary heroism against the vile Hamas murderers who attacked us with terrible cruelty on Oct. 7,» Netanyahu said in an English-language statement.

Biden publicly backed Israel after the ICC’s announcement, saying the U.S. «[rejects] the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders.»

«Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,» Biden said. «And it’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.»

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.



Hezbollah bigger challenge than Hamas to Israel: ‘Crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror’



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JERUSALEM — With Israel on the verge of a third full-blown war against Hezbollah because of the Lebanese organization’s constant firing of deadly missiles, drones and rockets, the differences and similarities between Hezbollah and Hamas are now under the microscope. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran finances the Mideast terrorist movements Hamas and Hezbollah, who have declared war on Israel and who are also responsible for committing numerous terrorist attacks against American civilians and military service personnel.

Fox News Digital contacted experts for a tale-of-the-tape analysis on Hamas, which is situated in the southern Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, which is the de facto ruler of the Lebanese state on Israel’s northern border. Israel has fought two wars against Hezbollah, in 1982 and in 2006.

«Hezbollah is the crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror and evil and is by far the most powerful Iranian proxy equipped with nation state capabilities and even with more firepower than several European militaries have today,» Jonathan Conricus, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former IDF spokesman told Fox News Digital.


In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial for slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992, in Tefahta village, south Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Despite widespread poverty and economic instability in Iran, the Islamic Republic is also a generous funding source of Hezbollah, providing the Lebanese terrorist organization with over $700 million a year, according to the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. State Department. Joint military cooperation between Iran’s regime and Hezbollah has been a longstanding feature in Lebanon, Syria and throughout Europe with respect to terrorism and war planning.

«In a military comparison, Hezbollah is far more powerful than Hamas across the board in every military metric. In terms of the amount of rockets they have, the range, the accuracy or the payload or size of the warhead, also in terms of the amount of personnel, armed fighters, their training and their equipment,» Conricus added.

Israeli artillery

Israeli soldiers fire a mobile howitzer in the north of Israel, near the border with Lebanon Jan. 15, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Hezbollah has amassed a massive arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles that are aimed at the Jewish state. The IDF has degraded Hamas’ supply of 20,000 rockets and missiles since the start of the war. However, Hamas was capable of launching eight rockets from the city of Rafah into Israel two weeks ago. Fox News Digital reported last week that Hezbollah launched over 200 missiles, rockets and drones into Israel.

The economics of Hamas and Hezbollah have similarities and differences in the scope of funding and military training from Tehran.  

«Hezbollah and Hamas are both terror organizations funded mainly by Iran. Hezbollah’s loyalty is only to Iran. Hamas is for everyone who helps it,» said Edy Cohen, a Lebanese-born Israeli scholar of Hezbollah.


Hezbollah terrorists training.

Hezbollah terrorist organization’s Radwan forces in training video. (

Cohen, a researcher at the Eitan, the Israeli Center for Grand Strategy, said «Hamas is under a sea blockage and cannot fly to other countries and cannot receive goods or arms easily. Hezbollah can.»

The number of terrorists fighting for both organizations varies. The IDF has reduced Hamas’ terrorist force by nearly 50% since the start of the war to between 9,000 and 12,000 combatants.

«Under the guidance of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the group boasts a troop strength of 20,000 to 25,000 full-time fighters, with additional tens of thousands in reserves,» the IDF wrote on its website. «Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Unit is particularly noted for its combat proficiency and strategic importance in conflicts across the region. This particular unit … was established with assistance from Iran’s Quds force.»

Walid Phares, co-president of #EducateAmerica and a professor of Middle East Studies, told Fox News Digital the first principal difference between Hamas and Hezbollah is «Hamas comes from the Muslim Brotherhood organizationally and ideologically, so it is a Sunni extremist group, a chapter of Ikhwan among many chapters in the region.» 

Ikhwan is an Arabic word for the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Palestinian fighter from the armed wing of Hamas takes part in a military parade

A terrorist from Hamas takes part in a military parade to mark the anniversary of the 2014 war with Israel near the border in the central Gaza Strip July 19, 2023. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo)

He added that «Hezbollah comes from an opposite side. They are Shiites, but Jihadi Shiites, made of Lebanese Shia Islamists who have been recruited (and funded) by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, or the Sepah Pasdaran as early as 1980. They were launched by the Islamic Republic in northern Bekaa that year and marched south all the way to the southern suburb of Beirut and then to the south after Israel started to withdraw.»


Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the IDF Gibor base in Kiryat Shmona, where he was briefed by 769th Brigade Commander Avraham Marciano and Northern Command Home Front coordinator Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Alon Friedman June 5, 2024. (Israeli Government Press Office)

Phares, co-host of the popular «War and Freedom» podcast, said Hamas’ «ultimate goal is to destroy Israel, establish a Taliban-like emirate or state in Palestine, but, more importantly, have that Islamic entity join a new Caliphate across the region. Hamas as such is not a ‘nationalist’ group, but a Pan-Islamist organization.»

In contrast to Hamas, Phrase noted that Hezbollah believes «in exactly the doctrine of the Iranian regime. That is to establish a Khomeinist republic in Lebanon to join the sister Islamic Republic in Iran, and also in Iraq and Yemen, and eventually form a ‘parallel’ Shia Khomeinist (Jihadist) type of Caliphate, known as Imamate, Shia Islamists reject the Sunni Caliphate.» 

Terrorists from Hezbollah train in Lebannon

Hezbollah Radwan forces training in Southern Lebanon near the Israeli border. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

The Islamic revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini founded the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, with a mission to export his Shia Islamism across the world.

«So, they are at polar opposites ideologically, how did they come together and what is common between them. What is common is, first, that they both want to destroy the Zionist entity [Israel]. That’s the ultimate joint goal. Then, they both want to bring down all Arab regimes who are with peace or are obstructing their jihad. They are both enemies of America,» Phares said.

Iran military parade

An Iranian military truck carries surface-to-air missiles past a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a parade on the country’s annual army day April 18, 2018, in Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian regime’s financing of both terrorist movements is a crucial factor, according to Mideast experts, in understanding jingoism in the region and the destabilization of the Levant and the Islamic heartland in the Middle East. 

Qatar hosts the Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, who told the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network in 2022— two years before Hamas launched its Oct. 7 invasion into southern Israel — that Tehran funnels at least $70 million to Hamas each year.  

«Iran stands at the forefront of supporting the cause and [the] people of Palestine,» Haniyeh said in March.


The intense relations between Hamas and Hezbollah stem from the mid-1990s.

Counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman also noted in a June 14 article on the website of the Council of Foreign Relations that «some five hundred Hamas fighters were trained in Iran in preparation for the October 7 attacks, a reflection of Iran’s longstanding support of Hamas.»

Phares explained that Hamas and Hezbollah came together in 1994-1995 when «hundreds of Hamas cadres and leaders were exiled by Israel to south Lebanon. They were hosted by Hezbollah, who linked them up with the regime in Tehran. They were received, funded and armed. They were told the two Jihadisms can work together despite the Sunni and Shia divide. «

Hamas leader Sinwar.

Yahya Sinwar, center, the elected leader of Hamas, appears during a ceremony for fighters killed by Israeli air strikes at Yarmouk football stadium May 24, 2021, in Gaza City, Gaza.  (Laurent Van der Stockt/Getty Images)

He said Hamas embraced the Shia side to the «point that in 2011 they eventually sided with [Syria President Bashar] Assad’s (pro-Khomeinist) regime against Sunni Salafi Jihadi factions. That was a major crisis for Hamas, accused by Sunnis of betraying them. But, eventually, when Assad regained ground in Syria, and the Islamic Regime shifted the fight to Gaza, Hamas regained ‘Jihadi notoriety’ in the region.»

«Strategically speaking, Hezbollah is currently enjoying a situation where it has Israel exactly where it wants it. And Israel has indeed achieved quite a lot of military achievements. But, on the strategic level, Hezbollah is benefiting from an attrition in Israeli capabilities and from a very challenging diplomatic situation,» Conricus, the former IDF spokesman, noted.


A mural of Hassan Nasrallah with a red background and people cheering in front of it

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link as his supporters raise their hands during the Shiite holy day of Ashoura in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

«As long as the international community fails to understand the severity and acts with urgency in order to facilitate a diplomatic deal that will return Israeli civilians to their homes safely, the only other option that remains is the military one, which Israel, unfortunately, will have to use in order to implement the responsibility of any government to safeguard the lives of its civilians. I hope that can be avoided, but currently that does not seem to be the case.»

The U.S. has sanctioned both Hamas and Hezbollah as foreign terrorist organizations. The EU has merely sanctioned Hezbollah’s so-called «military wing,» a terrorist entity, while France has blocked the designation of a full terror proscription of Hezbollah. The EU sanctioned Hamas as a terrorist organization in 2003.

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