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House of Representatives passes Republican bill to punish ICC seeking arrest warrant for Netanyahu

The ICC's chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants against the leaders of Israel and Hamas.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a Republican-led bill that would impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court after its chief prosecutor recommended indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes.

The bill passed by a vote of 247 to 155. Forty-two Democrats crossed party lines and supported Republicans in passing the bill despite opposition from the White House.

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, led by Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, would impose mandatory sanctions and visa restrictions on any foreign national who works for the ICC or provides funds to it for prosecutions against the United States, Israel, or other U.S. allies that are not parties to the ICC.

The vote came weeks after International Court of Justice chief prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Khan said in a statement that his office had “reasonable grounds to believe” that the two leaders were responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Gaza. Khan said the alleged crimes included starving civilians, deliberate attacks on civilians and more.

Khan also requested arrest warrants for Hamas leaders Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh. The prosecutor claimed the three were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians and accused them of hostage-taking, rape, extermination and more.

Netanyahu told ABC's “Good Morning America” ​​that the court's plan was “absurd” and “murder.”

“These are false accusations,” Netanyahu said. “I think they cast a terrible shadow on the International Criminal Court.”

The ICC's actions sparked fierce criticism from both political parties. President Joe Biden explicitly condemned the ICC's call for arrest warrants against Israeli politicians and said there was “no equivalence between Israel and Hamas.”

The court's sanction was originally supported by both parties, House Speaker Mike Johnson said weeks ago.

The White House said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” about the ICC's actions, but the Biden administration ultimately “strongly opposes” the legislation.

“There are more effective ways to defend Israel, uphold U.S. positions in the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the administration stands ready to work with Congress on those options,” the White House said in a statement, which did not threaten a veto.

Spokesman Johnson said at his weekly press conference early Tuesday that the ICC's lawsuit “cannot be allowed.”

“President Biden should recognize the danger of allowing these unlawful investigations to continue and that he must impose sanctions on the ICC in response,” Johnson said.

Neither the United States nor Israel recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Alexandra Hutzler of ABC News contributed to this report.