Netanyahu says ICC prosecutor's move absurd, comparison to Hamas shameful

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrives to his Likud party faction meeting at the Knesset,in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the decision of the ICC prosecutor on Monday to seek arrest warrants against him and his defense minister was absurd and that the move was meant to target all of Israel.

"I reject with disgust the comparison of the prosecutor in the Hague between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas," Netanyahu said. "With what audacity do you compare Hamas that murdered, burned, butchered, decapitated, raped and kidnapped our brothers and sisters with the IDF soldiers fighting a just war unlike any other."

"This is a complete distortion of reality."

He referred to the ICC prosecutor's move as a new kind of antisemitism.

"Citizens of Israel, I promise you one thing - the attempt to tie our hands will fail," he said. "As prime minister of Israel, I pledge that no pressure and no decision in any international forum will prevent us from striking those who seek to destroy us."

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Alistair Bell)