Israeli Military Officers Cancel Trip to UK Over Possible War Crimes Arrests

Thursday, January 07, 2010
White phosphorous used by Israelis in Gaza

A law in the United Kingdom once intended to pursue Nazi war criminals is today being used to go after Israeli military and civilian officials accused of wrongly killing Palestinians. Under British law, judges are allowed to issue secret arrest warrants for anyone accused of committing war crimes anywhere in the world, which has made traveling to the UK a dangerous proposition for leaders from Israel.

Recently, four unidentified Israeli military officers cancelled a planned visit to Britain because British officials could not guarantee that the men wouldn’t be arrested for actions during the offensive into the Gaza Strip in December 2008 through January 2009. According to a report by Amnesty International, during a 22-day period 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including 300 children.
Before that, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who served during the Gaza campaign, cancelled a visit to London after a British judge issued an arrest warrant. It was the first time a UK court had issued a warrant for the arrest of a former Israeli minister. The warrant was later revoked.
Pro-Palestinian activists have promoted the legal efforts to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes. Leaders in Tel Aviv have become incensed by the arrest warrants, and some British lawmakers have promised to change their country’s universal jurisdiction law.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
War Crimes Fears Force Israelis to Cancel UK Trip (by Amy Teibel, Associated Press)


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