Saturday, March 6, 2010

UK 'in no hurry' over risk of arrest for Tzipi Livni and other Israelis

The Times response to Gordon Brown in yesterday's Telegraph and the subject of the previous post here:
Britain risks a showdown with Israel today when the Government signals it is in no hurry to ease the threat of arrest for visiting politicians and generals.

Ministers will announce a consultation on the principle of universal jurisdiction, under which private citizens can secure arrest warrants for offences such as war crimes committed abroad.

The Government had promised swift action when the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a trip to London last year after a magistrate issued a warrant for her arrest for alleged war crimes in Gaza when she was Foreign Minister.

The issue caused embarrassment for the Government, which promised to remedy the matter quickly.Today’s announcement, however, means that the issue will not be resolved until well after the election, expected in May. When The Times reported last month that a Cabinet split could delay the issue could be delayed for months, Ms Livni threatened to travel to Britain and “take the bullet” as the only way of shaming the Government into action.

After the disclosure that agents suspected of acting for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, used fake British passports to enter Dubai and kill a Hamas commander, however, the balance of diplomatic power has shifted.

The delay is a victory for Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, who has argued that the legal point at stake is too important to rush.

Clauses that could have been attached to the Crime and Security Bill now before Parliament have been drafted. Under one, the Attorney-General, not a magistrate, would have to authorise an arrest warrant

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Britain must protect foreign leaders from private arrest warrants

Truly puke-inducing stuff from Gordon Brown writing in The Telegraph today:
Significantly, the United Nations has embraced our responsibility to intervene in countries where such atrocities are being committed.
And the complement to this is the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows for prosecution in any country of certain serious offences wherever and by whoever they were committed.
It is our moral duty to ensure that there is no hiding place for those suspected of the most serious international crimes.
Britain will continue to take action to prosecute or extradite suspected war criminals – regardless of their status or power.
This is why the UK was among the first countries in the world to put in place legislation providing for universal jurisdiction over torture, hostage taking and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
Without universal jurisdiction the Afghan warlord Faryadi Zardad, who had fled to London on a fake passport, would not have been brought to justice for a merciless campaign of terror in his homeland.
Britain will always honour its commitment to international justice. The police here remain ready to investigate cases; the Crown Prosecution Service to bring them; the courts to hear them.
But the process by which we take action must guarantee the best results.
The only question for me is whether our purpose is best served by a process where an arrest warrant for the gravest crimes can be issued on the slightest of evidence.
As we have seen, there is now significant danger of such a provision being exploited by politically-motivated organisations or individuals who set out only to grab headlines knowing their case has no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.
Men and woman can then be held in prison on the basis of 'information', when the serious nature of such cases means that in any event they can only proceed to prosecution with the consent of the Attorney General.
There is already growing reason to believe that some people are not prepared to travel to this country for fear that such a private arrest warrant – motivated purely by political gesture – might be sought against them.
These are sometimes people representing countries and interests with which the UK must engage if we are not only to defend our national interest but maintain and extend an influence for good across the globe.
Britain cannot afford to have its standing in the world compromised for the sake of tolerating such gestures.
There is a case now, therefore, for the evidential basis on which arrest warrants can be allowed to be tougher and for restricting the right to prosecute the narrow range of crimes falling under universal jurisdiction to the Crown Prosecution Service alone.
Such a modification requires legislation. It is also extremely controversial in some quarters, involving as it does the long-standing right of private prosecution. So we will consult on our proposals to improve the system, with my full intention to legislate as soon as possible.
Britain remains absolutely committed to upholding the principles of universal jurisdiction. And where individuals or organisations have genuine grounds for allegations that any of the offences in question have been committed we encourage them to bring forward evidence to the police.
But by bringing the risk of arrest into closer alignment with the risk of prosecution, our system of universal jurisdiction can be stronger. For it would be clear that we only bring cases based on evidence of sufficient strength to convince the Director of Public Prosecutions that there is a credible case.
With this approach, I am confident that an amendment on better enforcement of existing legislation will serve to enhance Britain's status in the eyes of international law, world opinion and history.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

British Government Promises Israeli Official He Won't Be Arrested During Visit

This from IMEMC:

Tuesday February 09, 2010

After receiving a letter from the British Foreign Ministry promising that he wouldn't be arrested for war crimes while in England, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon arrived in London on Monday.

He is the first Israeli official to visit Britain since a British judge issued an edict declaring that Israeli officials would be subject to 'universal jurisdiction' laws requiring their arrests and trial for war crimes. The ruling included an arrest warrant for Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

Since its invasion of the Gaza Strip last year that resulted in 1400 Palestinians killed, 80% of whom were civilians, and 5 Israeli civilians killed, Israeli officials have faced increased scrutiny and criticism abroad. This increased after Israel refused to acknowledge or examine the contents of the United Nations Report examining the Gaza invasion for possible war crimes.

Ayalon spoke Monday at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, warning of 'dangerous rhetoric' emanating from Israel's neighbors. The event was billed as a public 'brain-storming session' with British officials, researchers and diplomats. One of the subjects discussed was the growing boycott and divestment movement aimed at Israel's apartheid policies. Ayalon considers the boycott movement to be an 'image problem' for the state of Israel.

Ashley Perry, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Ministry, said, “This visit takes place against the backdrop of anti-Israeli sentiment among some sectors in Britain and represents an attempt to present the basic elements of current Israeli policy.”

In the British Foreign Ministry's invitation to Ayalon, the Ministry invited Ayalon to host an event at the Ministry's office to celebrate an academic exchange program that “sends a clear message of Government support for strengthened links and of opposition to boycotts.”

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tzipi Livni to visit London to test arrest warrant

I trust she will be given a reception that she will never forget.

This from the Daily Telegraph today:
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s opposition leader and former foreign minister, is planning to visit London to test the process by which Britain issues arrest warrants for alleged war crimes. In December Mrs Livni cancelled a trip to Britain after Westminster magistrates’ court issued a warrant seeking her arrest in connection with alleged war crimes relating to Israel’s Gaza offensive.
Hamas, the Palestinian group which is considered a terrorist organisation by Britain, was believed to have helped British lawyers secure the arrest warrant against Mrs Livni.
It sparked a diplomatic row and Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, expressed his regret over the incident saying that Mrs Livni was “most welcome in Britain any time”.
The British government also said it would look at universal jurisdiction legislation and review how warrants were issued.
Yesterday Mrs Livni told the Jewish Chronicle: “I will do this not for me, not for provocation, but for the right of every Israeli to travel freely.”
The British system was “being abused by extremists for political reasons,” she added.
“My intention is not to stay in Israel for ever. I don’t think as a decision-maker, who made decisions against terror, that I should plan never to leave Israel. The British fight terror, too. They do not remain in Britain. They travel,” she said.
The Israeli opposition leader said she was considering a number of invitations but did not confirm when she would make the trip.
The Foreign Office has said that there have been delays in agreeing to changes to universal jurisdiction legislation which was initially given a deadline of February 23.
About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were reportedly killed Israeli’s three week Gaza offensive launched in December 2008. A UN report accused both sides of committing war crimes during the conflict.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Livni, Barak ‘Wanted for War Crimes’ in Poland

It appears there were a couple of 'Wanted for War Crimes' poster advertisements sited close to the Israeli delegation hotel during the visit for Holocaust Memorial Day.

An Israeli Security spokesman described them as 'a purely  local provocation that has occurred in other countries across the world'.

This from Lebanon's Al Manar TV 27-10-10:
"Israeli leaders are still wanted in Europe, but not in a positive way: Knesset members visiting Poland for ceremonies marking International Holocaust Day were surprised to see ads against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni in the city of Krakow on Tuesday evening.

Posters hung not far from the Israeli lawmakers' hotel read in English, "Wanted for war crimes," offering the public an award of 10,000 euro in exchange for information on Barak or Livni's expected arrival in Europe. The ads included a website address for people interested in providing information on the Israeli officials.

Several members of the Israeli delegation – including MKs Israel Hasson, Yohanan Plesner and Rachel Adatto of the Kadima party and Uri Orbach of Habayit Hayehudi – spotted the posters on a number of bulletin boards across the Polish city. The four sought to tear the ads, but decided to let security officials look into the matter.

"There is no doubt this was carried out in response to our visit," said one of the MKs, who are attending an event organized by the European Friends of Israel (EFI) organization, together with 150 parliament members from all over the continent.

"After 65 years, we once again realize that being right is not enough," said MK Hasson. "We must remember this ahead of the next challenges, like Holocaust deniers, Holocaust cursers and different kinds of anti-Semites."

The MKs informed security elements about the ads. MK Plesner said he would update the Knesset officer, but the security officials estimated that the posters were a local provocation which has taken place in other countries across the world. Knesset officials said a complaint would be filed with the Polish authorities.

Incidentally, the MKs could not help but note that the ad against Livni was bigger than the ad against Barak."

Prosecuting war crimes: the courts must be independent

Interesting post by Clive Baldwin of 'Human Rights Watch' on the 'Open Democracy' site in which he makes particular reference to the recent  Tzipi Livni UK visit cancellation fiasco.  His arguments are certainly solid enough but I fear that the politicisation of our so-called 'Justice System' where it involves issues at this level render them akin to whistling in the wind. Good for him for having a go nonetheless.
"The British government claims to defend basic principles of justice for grave international crimes. So its reaction to arrest warrants issued by independent courts, acting on evidence showing an arguable case, should be straightforward: respect the courts’ rulings even if they cause political embarrassment.
However, the reactions of ministers to the arrest warrant issued, and then withdrawn, by Westminster magistrate's court against Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister of Israel, have been neither straightforward nor edifying. Most embarrassing of all, Patricia Scotland, the Attorney General, gave a speech in Jerusalem on 5 January declaring that the government was “determined that Israel's leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK.” Her statement leaves the impression that no matter what crimes may have been committed, no matter what British courts may say, ministers will find a way to bypass justice if it suits them. And it is hardly likely that the government will limit its infringements of the rule of law to the case of Israel.
In response to criticism of the warrant against Livni, the government is reportedly considering increasing the Attorney General's power to intervene in cases, giving her the power to approve an arrest warrant issued by a court on the basis of an application by a private party. The crossbench peer and QC David Pannick has called this the “simple” solution, to avoid embarrassing arrest warrants against Israelis or Americans that are unlikely to result in prosecutions, given that the Attorney General already has the power to block the prosecutions themselves.
But these proposals ignore that the power of the Attorney General, a government minister, to intervene in cases is an anomaly in an independent justice system. After a decade of change to comply with European human rights principles, English justice has been dragged into the 21st century, with most ministers losing their power to directly interfere in cases. The Lord Chancellor no longer sits as head of the judiciary and there is a Supreme Court outside the House of Lords. Successive Home Secretaries have been forced, reluctantly, to surrender their powers to intervene on sentencing in individual cases.
The Attorney General is the only remaining minister who can still intervene in individual cases. Soon after taking over as Prime Minister in 2007 Gordon Brown said that the “role of Attorney General which combines legal and ministerial functions needs to change.” He was right: a minister should not have the power to stop prosecutions, especially when they are embarrassing to the government or their allies (as with the Serious Fraud Office investigation into charges of corruption involving Saudi Arabia and BAE). Council of Europe member states, including the UK, agreed a decade ago that the power of governments to give instructions not to prosecute in a specific case “should, in principle, be prohibited”.
Patricia Scotland was supposedly appointed as a reforming Attorney General. Unfortunately no serious reform of the office has taken place; the Attorney General remains a government minister with the power to halt any prosecution of a large number of offences. Some of these offences, such as advertising cancer treatments or failing to erect fencing around a mine, seem merely anachronistic. But crucially the Attorney General retains the power to approve all prosecutions for the key international crimes: torture, crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.
If the purpose is to protect the public interest, there is no need to have the Attorney General interfere in cases. Decisions on sensitive prosecutions are made daily by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who is required to take such decisions both on the basis of the likelihood of conviction (i.e. the evidence) and on the public interest. That is how it should be: an independent prosecutor weighing up the need for prosecution, bearing in mind that where there is evidence of the most serious crimes having taken place, the public interest in prosecution is high. Once the DPP has decided to prosecute, the additional veto granted to the Attorney General, a political figure, adds nothing more than a power to stop prosecutions that are embarrassing to the government. This applies as much for prosecutions of British nationals as of foreign citizens.
Last year, Human Rights Watch revealed evidence of the complicity of British agents in torture by the Pakistani intelligence services. This could and should be investigated as a crime. Any eventual prosecutions could well reveal severe incompetence, at the very least, of government in allowing such complicity to take place. Yet, even if the evidence were overwhelming, prosecutions would require the consent of the Attorney General, a member of the very government that risks political embarrassment from a prosecution.
Britain is in fact the only country in western Europe that permits such naked political interference in the prosecution of international crimes. The solution is not to extend the Attorney General’s power, giving the government the right to meddle in the rulings of the courts themselves. It is to remove the Attorney General's power to interfere altogether, and allow the independent prosecutors and courts to decide, on the basis of the evidence and an impartial view of the public interest, who should be prosecuted for the most serious crimes, whatever their nationality and no matter how embarrassing for the government of the day."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turkish human rights group seeks to prosecute Barak for alleged Gaza war crimes

From Haaretz
16th January 2010
"An Islamic human rights group on Friday petitioned a prosecutor to start legal proceedings against Defense Minister Ehud Barak for alleged crimes committed against Palestinians during the Gaza war. The demand came two days before the Defense Minister is scheduled to visit Turkey, where he is expected to try and mend strained relations following last year’s war in Gaza and an Israeli official’s humiliation of the Turkish ambassador. Turkey’s Justice Ministry has previously rejected similar appeals against Israeli officials, and authorities haven’t acted on the petition authored by the Istanbul-based Mazlum-Der group. Turkey’s relations with Israel have been hurt by the fury that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed about Israel’s war in Gaza a year ago. Last month, an arrest warrant was issued in Britain against opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni on the basis of her alleged war crimes in last year’s Gaza offensive. Lawyers working with Palestinian activists in recent years have sought the arrest of senior Israeli civilian and military figures under terms of universal jurisdiction. This ill-defined legal concept empowers judges to issue arrest warrants for visiting officials accused of war crimes in a foreign conflict."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

When Israel snaps its fingers British ministers jump

I thought the following piece by Stuart Littlewood worth posting here. He makes some very good points.

Sorry to have to say I must part company with him on his perceptions of 'Britain' and 'British Values' though (that pompous, self-satisfied Gordon-Brownism again). He says:

"Britain does not share Israel’s racist and criminal values. In fact, we have nothing in common worth mentioning."
That is certainly true of a large majority of the British population during its increasingly rare moments of arousal from a sort of fearful, docile, somnambulist-like compliance with the whole ludicrous official 'war-on-terror' narrative. The British State itself though is quite another matter. In terms of its vision of 'Oceania -v- the 'threat' of a viable Central Asian alliance (Russia/Iran/China say - or something close), little of substance has changed since Victorian times. The Britsh Empire and its 'Imperial Project has simply morphed into the 'Anglo-American Imperial Project'.

Anything and everything is subordinated to frustrating and preventing that feared and ever nascent Alliance - especially risking the alienation of Regimes considered important allies in 'The Project', no matter how vile their human rights record (Uzbekistan Israel and Saudi Arabia spring to mind from among current allies, but the historical list is long and shameful). Basic considerations of common humanity simply do not register in any way other than 'How do we deal with the natural distaste/outrage of our own sheeple?' - which rarely poses much of a problem when the twin mantras of jingoistic patriotism and fear of 'terrorism' (witchcraft, communism - whatever) can be so effectively invoked. The post WWII history of both the US and UK is one of permanent detailed collusion in seeking to topple democratically elected governments and replace them with the vilest of tyrannical regimes all over the world - constant weasel-words about freedom and democracy notwithstanding.

Here's Stuart Littlewood's article:

While the Viva Palestina convoy drama was being played out, a delegation of senior Israeli military officers cancelled a planned visit to the UK for fear of being arrested over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

With the insufferable arrogance we have come to expect from Israelis, deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon demanded from Britain's Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, an immediate solution to the "intolerable" situation.

"If the British law remains unchanged, this would undermine the good relations between the two countries who share common values and interests. The British must bear in mind that these visits serve both countries," Ayalon is reported as saying.

"This legislation is often misused," he added. "It initially targeted Nazi criminals, but terrorist organisations like Hamas are today using it to take democracies hostage. We have to put an end to this absurdity…"

That is typical Israeli propaganda. Britain does not share Israel’s racist and criminal values. In fact, we have nothing in common worth mentioning. And of course Hamas is no more a terrorist organization than the Israeli regime itself.

What is absurd is that murderous Israelis, with the stench of mega-deaths on them, expect to be let into the UK.

Last month, Tzipi Livni, now leader of Israel's main opposition party but foreign minister at the time of the blitzkrieg against Gaza, cancelled a visit to Britain after an arrest warrant was issued by a British court. An Israeli spokesperson said: "Only actions can put an end to this absurd situation, which would have seemed a comedy of errors were it not so serious."

The errors are all Livni’s. Her appalling crimes are not funny. Yet British prime minister Gordon Brown insists that she is welcome and says he’ll change the law that allows British courts to issue warrants for alleged war crimes suspects.

According to Baroness Scotland, speaking at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israeli leaders should not face arrest for war crimes under the law of universal jurisdiction. "The government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed to avoid this situation arising again. Israel's leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK."

And David Miliband, foreign secretary, says the British government is determined that arrest threats against visitors of Ms Livni's stature won’t happen again. "Israel is a strategic partner and a close friend of the United Kingdom. We are determined to protect and develop these ties. Israeli leaders - like leaders from other countries - must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British government."

Livni, referring to the slaughter she oversaw in Gaza a year ago, had the gall to say: "I would make the same decisions all over again." So Miliband seems happy for even the vilest foreign criminals to walk the streets of our capital.

However, Livni is no longer a serving minister so why should even the most twisted minds in the British government consider rolling out the red carpet for her?

Israel itself was happy to use "universal jurisdiction" to try Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961. The principle, let us remember, is that there can be no hiding place for those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial executions, war crimes, torture and forced disappearances.

But it seems Brown and Miliband will go to any lengths, even as far as dismantling our solemn obligations under international law, in order to protect their unsavoury friends. They need reminding that states which are party to the Geneva Conventions are obliged to seek out and either prosecute or extradite those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions: "Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts…"

"Grave breaches" means willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and other serious violations of the laws of war… all the atrocities committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Instead of making Britain an even bigger laughing-stock, Brown, Miliband and Scotland should get busy and do their duty, not duck it. The British public’s message to Israel meanwhile is simple. If you must come here, make sure your hands are clean. War criminals are not welcome.

Stuart Littlewood
7 January 2010

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Officers’ trip to UK cancelled due to concern of arrest

The following is a translation from the Hebrew. It is by one  Itamar Eichner in the Israeli publication Yediot, 5th January 2010.

The shock and indignation expressed is amusing and illustrates just how difficult it is for the Israeli elite to come to terms with this new reality.

Nothing in the UK MSM so far as I can see.

"At the last minute, Israel cancelled a work visit of Israeli officers to the UK due to concern that arrest warrants would be issued against them.

The Israeli delegation, comprised of officers ranking colonel, lieutenant colonel and major, was invited by the British army to examine military cooperation. Due to concern that warrants of arrest would be issued, Israeli officials contacted British government officials in advance and demanded that they guarantee that the officers would not be arrested. This is after two weeks ago, a warrant of arrest was issued against Opposition Chairwoman Tzippi Livni and earlier there were attempts to have a similar warrant issued against Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

To the great astonishment of the Israelis—the British announced last week that they could not guarantee that the officers would not be arrested. Consultations were held in Israel among the top echelons and it was decided: under the present circumstances, no risk should be taken, and the visit was cancelled.

Israel views this matter very seriously and officials say that it directly harms the security cooperation between the two countries. High-ranking officials also say that the situation that has been created in Britain is completely unacceptable and requires immediate legislative rectification.

The matter will come up today in talks that will take place in Israel between British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland with Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, Ehud Kinan. Baroness Scotland arrived in Israel for a private pilgrimage with her family and she will take part in the “Israel and International Law” conference that is being held by the law faculty of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Israeli officials intend to make it clear to Baroness Scotland that Israel expects a change in British legislation that would ensure that officers and Israeli personages cannot be arrested in Britain because of lawsuits against them for their part in IDF operations. “The risk to senior Israeli figures does concrete and immediate damage to bilateral relations,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. He said “organizations that are hostile to Israel try to exploit the legal channels and legal tools to threaten the Israeli and British decision-makers, including the authorities of the attorney general herself, and to thereby create political facts that should be determined around the diplomatic negotiating table.” Ayalon warned that the situation created in Britain also caused damage beyond its borders, since it increased similar initiatives in other places in the world.

In the meeting with the British attorney general, Israel will also protest the boycott phenomenon against it. “Israel and Britain have a tradition of long-standing of close ties that includes cooperation in many areas, including financial, science, academia, military, culture and more. Precisely for this reason we are very concerned by the growing and intensifying trends of hostility toward Israel among certain communities in Britain,” said Ayalon."

Hat-tip to Coteret 

Update 1:  More from Al Jazeera
Update 2: This from The Guardian . The story is confirmed though this article is primarily - and oh so predictably - about the Governments 'determination' to change the law so this sort of thing cannot happen again.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More on the Tzipi Livni London trip cancellation

This from Al-Jazeera:

UK court 'issued warrant for Livni'
A British court reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister on charges relating to Israel's 22-day war on Gaza, before apparently withdrawing it after it was found she was not in the country. Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition Kadima party, had been expected to travel to London this week for an event organised by the Jewish National Fund, followed by meetings with British government officials.

Israeli media reported on Monday that Livni had called off the trip fearing that she would be arrested after a pro-Palestinian group won a warrant for her arrest. But Livni's office said in a statement after the reports that she had declined a request to attend the event in London due to a scheduling conflict and not because of fears of being arrested.

'Threat of prosecution'

The British foreign office issued a statement on Monday saying it was looking into the incident and its possible effect on the peace process.

"The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East and to be a strategic partner of Israel," it said. "To do this, Israel's leaders need to be able to come to the UK for talks with the British government. We are looking urgently at the implications of this case."

Bill Bowring, a professor of law at the University of London, said the threat of prosecution is making international travel increasingly difficult for Israeli officials.

"This has happened before. It's under quite old legislation, under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949," he told Al Jazeera. "Basically what it says is that if a person anywhere in the world commits grave breaches against civilians then that person should be arrested and prosecuted wherever they turn up in the world."

Livni cancels JNF visit to UK

 And this from today's Guardian:
Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear at a London fundraising event last month after he was warned he might face arrest on suspicion of war crimes.
His decision, reported in October, came a week after lawyers for 16 Palestinians failed to persuade a British court to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence and deputy prime minister, over Israel's war in Gaza this January. Barak, whose visit included addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, was regarded as having diplomatic immunity.
Ya'alon had been invited by the Jewish National Fund. He had cancelled at least one previous planned trip to the UK. He was advised not to travel over an incident dating back to July 2002 when he was chief of staff of the Israeli military. An Israeli jet bombed a house in Gaza, killing Salah Shehadeh, then leader of Hamas's military wing, and 14 civilians, including Shehadeh's wife and several children.
In June a Spanish court shelved an investigation into that attack. The suspects also included the former defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. He has attacked the "legal circus" in Spain and the UK.
In December 2007 Avi Dichter, then public security minister and head of the Shin Bet internal security agency at the time of the Shehadeh incident, cancelled a trip to Britain the following month for a security conference at King's College London.
In September 2005 detectives were waiting at Heathrow airport to arrest the retired Israeli general Doron Almog on war crimes allegations relating to house demolitions and assassinations in Gaza, also in 2002. But he remained on the El Al plane for two hours before flying off. The Guardian revealed last year that Scotland Yard allowed him to escape partly because officers feared an attempt to stop him would lead to a gun battle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Israelis may stay home to avoid arrest in Europe

Post title is from Washington Times article today:
Israel is seriously considering restricting travel to Europe by its senior officials and military officers, fearing they might be arrested in the wake of a disputed U.N. report that accuses the Jewish state of targeting civilians in its Gaza war earlier this year.
Avital Leibovich, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces, told The Washington Times on Monday, "Currently there is no specific advisory and different senior officers are continuing their travel as planned. However, we are in touch and we are discussing with the foreign ministry and other legal authorities whether we need to take additional steps like potential restrictions of travel."
Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon, a retired Israeli general who now serves as minister for strategic affairs, canceled a trip to London out of concern that he might face an arrest warrant, said Jonathan Peled, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday harshly criticized the U.N. report, written by a team headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, "as distorted" and vowed not to permit the Israeli officials who launched the Gaza war "to arrive at the International Court in The Hague." The U.N. Security Council will discuss the report on Wednesday.
Israel launched the offensive to stop the militant Palestinian group Hamas from firing rockets on Israeli cities from Gaza, which Hamas controls. While the war is viewed in Israel as a tactical success, its large civilian death toll - estimated at 926 by Palestinian rights groups and at least 295 by Israel - has created significant diplomatic fallout.
Not only do Israeli leaders and senior military officers face potential legal problems in Europe, but Israel's long-held goal of normalizing relations with Arab and Muslim states has been set back

On Sunday, Turkey - a rare Muslim country with close military ties with Israel - cancelled an annual air force drill that would have included Israel.
Qatar, a Gulf state that kept an unofficial embassy, known as an interest section, in Israel long after most Arab states closed theirs, shuttered it in January, citing the Gaza war.
In March, the queen or sheikha of Qatar, Mozah Bint Nasser al Missned, hired a U.S. public relations firm, Fenton Communications. According to the contract filed with the Justice Department, Fenton will support an "international public opinion awareness campaign that advocates for the accountability for those who participated in attacks on schools in Gaza."
The Gaza war also has hurt ties with Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Israeli fears of possible war-crimes prosecutions - more evidence

Paraphrased from this this Al Jazeera report.

Opening the winter session of the Israeli parliament on 12th October 2009, Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the UN Goldstone report saying: "The report encourages terrorism and threatens peace" and adding that he would "never allow any of the country's leaders or soldiers to be put on trial for war crimes."
Note: Never mind any prima facie evidence; In the Zionist/Orwellian view of the world, neither Israel, its leaders, nor any of its soldiers - by definition - can possibly be guilty of war crimes.

Netanyahu added:
"We will not agree to a situation whereby Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tizpi Livni, who sent soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces to defend our values and citizens, are subject to charges at The Hague. We will not agree to a situation whereby army officers and soldiers will be condemned as war criminals"
Mere mention of 'The Hague' in this context breaks new ground. It clearly demonstrates that attempts at prosecutions are seen as likely. I agree. They ARE likely and rightly so; though for the usual weary litany of reasons, I am less sanguine about prospects for their success.

To the extent that international travel by potential defendants is inhibited and the paranoid warmongering apartheid nature of the Zionist Project forced on a congenitally reluctant MSM, they are still worth pursuing though

Monday, October 5, 2009

Notice of occasional commentary

Following publication of the Goldstone Report, prospects for the arrest and prosecution of suspects detailed on this blog whilst travelling abroad, appear to have improved. I therefore intend to post the odd piece of commentary as and when there is news concerning any such prospect.

Two items of news have prompted this post:
  1. The refusal of a UK court to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barrak for execution during his official visit to London on 30th September last.
  2. Moshe Yaalon's cancellation of a scheduled visit to London on 5th October on the advice of his officials who feared he may be subject to arrest.
It is clear that the Israeli Top Brass are becoming distinctly nervous about foreign travel which is progress of sorts.