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Good morning, this is Michelle. Pressure is ramping up on Israel amid rumours that the UN’s criminal court may be preparing to take action against its top leadership over the war in Gaza.

That has sparked pushbacks from Israel and the United States, perhaps a step too far as hinted by a message on X from the ICC calling out intimidation attempts.

Speaking of pressure, health negotiators only have a few more days to forge a pandemic treaty. Plus, there won’t be much for the Red Cross and Red Crescent to celebrate on the movement's special day.

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Michelle Langrand


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The International Criminal Court's headquarters in the Hague, Netherlands, photographed 22 July 2020. (Flickr/Fnks)

ICC arrest warrants hover over Israeli leaders. Is the International Criminal Court preparing to intervene in the war in Gaza? Distress in Tel Aviv and Washington would suggest that prosecutor Karim Khan is getting ready to slap arrest warrants on key Israeli political and military leaders. But Israeli authorities have been on high alert for months, if not years, in anticipation of this possibility. The Israeli press had reported the recruiting of a “legal army” of lawyers and officials to prepare for the move and offer advice to the individuals concerned.

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What to watch this week

😷CRUNCH TIME. Negotiators are gearing up for an intense final week of talks for a pandemic agreement after only managing to agree on one article out of 37 in the current draft by Friday. That didn’t discourage co-chairs of the negotiations Precious Matsoso and Roland Driece, who told reporters that countries were at least beginning to “find each other” and were “confident that by the end of the week, we’ll have good results”.

Thorns. Despite the show of optimism, a number of contentions persist, namely on what a mechanism for accessing and sharing the benefits of pathogens should look like, but also around intellectual property issues – a red line for western countries – and equity – a must for the global South.

📖 Read our past reporting: Pandemic treaty talks enter final stretch amid deep divides

Caffeine run. The chairs, who were already looking tired, said they expected meetings to run until midnight this week.

Last chance. If no deal is reached by the end of the week, Driece said that’s what they would report to the World Health Assembly at the end of the month, though did not say if countries could request extra overtime ahead of the deadline. Matsoso stressed the need to clinch a deal if the world was to better prepare to address future health crises. “The opportunity window is closing,” she said.

Bad deal on the table? Campaigners might not be as thrilled if a deal is finalised. The draft agreement, as it stands, largely relies on voluntary measures and little to no obligations, which would be hard to add this late in the negotiations. In a letter addressed to the WHO chief ahead of the round of talks, civil society groups warned that the current deal on the table only “perpetuates the status quo”.

🚑 RED CROSS UNDER FIRE. Annual celebrations of neutrality and humanitarian principles on World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day on Wednesday come amid dark times for the movement. The emblem has faced increasing attacks from political leaders and misinformation campaigns but also physically.

In numbers. Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, 18 members – 14 from the Palestinian Red Crescent and four from Magen David Adom in Israel – have been killed. One member of the Sudanese branch and one from the Ethiopian branch were also killed this year, and two drivers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were gunned down last Friday.

🌡️REPORT ALERT. The World Meteorological Organization is due to publish on Wednesday its latest report on extreme weather and climate impacts on Latin America along with temperature predictions for the next five years.

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Behind the UN liquidity crunch, a multilateral system in crisis? The United Nations has been facing its worst liquidity crunch, forcing it to adopt several aggressive cost-saving measures. At this event, Geneva Solutions with guest speakers Michael Møller, former director general at the UN in Geneva, and Maya Ungar, UN analyst at the International Crisis Group, will discuss its latest reporting on the UN’s money woes and the wider implications for the multilateral system. Register to attend in person at the Domaine de Penthes, where an apéritif will follow the event, or to participate online.

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