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Examining Israel's response to the ICC's application for arrest warrants

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR'S Daniel Estrin is in Tel Aviv. He's covered this war from the beginning, covered Israel for years, and he's been listening into our conversation. Daniel, let's just pick up on a couple of assertions made there. We asked about the charge of starvation, starving people in Gaza. Ron Dermer says they're allowing in a lot of aid. What are you seeing?

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Well, the United Nations itself has said children have died from malnutrition in Gaza. Several thousand kids, it says, have been diagnosed with malnutrition in addition. And when I spoke to a former senior Israeli official about this issue, he said, you know, Israel - its military is occupying Gaza now and has an obligation to ensure food and aid. So the minister is disputing, is saying that Israel is flooding aid. I would say that even the United States would dispute that description, the U.S. has called on Israel and saying it needs to do much more to ensure aid gets into Gaza.

INSKEEP: He also said, listen, we've warned civilians to get out of the way. I guess it is true that warnings have been made. What is the practical effect of that on the ground?

ESTRIN: Well, the practical effect is that even though Israel has not launched its major Rafah operation, yet, and that's a dispute with the United States, more than 900,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah to areas in Gaza that are already overcrowded with very bad conditions, and it's just - for the experience of people on the ground, they don't feel like anywhere is safe. Israel's bombardments and airstrikes do continue with women and children killed just in the last few days, according to health officials there.

INSKEEP: What are the facts on jurisdiction? He says the court has no jurisdiction. He's right. The U.S. State Department has said there's no jurisdiction here. But what's the broader picture?

ESTRIN: Well, it is a matter of dispute. Israel and the U.S. say that they have no jurisdiction in the court because Israel is not a party to the court. But the Palestinian authority leadership did join the court some years ago. And the ICC prosecutor himself says that crimes committed on Palestinian territory by any party could fall under the court's jurisdiction.

INSKEEP: Just got a few seconds left, but what have these - the talk of this arrest warrant done politically in Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister?

ESTRIN: Well, the vast majority of lawmakers in Israel's parliament have signed a declaration saying that Israel's army is the most moral in the world in rejecting this move.

INSKEEP: OK. NPR's Daniel Estrin, thanks very much for the perspective. Really appreciate it.

ESTRIN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.
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