The Guardian reported this week that:
A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel’s former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today.
Tzipi Livni, a member of the war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead, had been due to address a meeting in London on Sunday but cancelled her attendance in advance.
It is the second time in less than three months that lawyers have gone to Westminster magistrates court asking for a warrant for the arrest of an Israeli politician. In September the court was asked to issue one for the arrest of Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which gives courts in England and Wales universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.
Barak, who was attending a meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, escaped arrest after the Foreign Office told the court that he was a serving minister who would be meeting his British counterparts. The court ruled he enjoyed immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978.
Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to Britain this weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested.
From the Israeli daily Haaretz:
Israel’s government confirmed Tuesday that she canceled a planned London trip this month after her office received news of a secretly issued arrest warrant awaiting her arrival.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, not surprisingly, by rejecting the suggestion that Israel has been responsible for war crimes, reports Haaretz:
“We will not agree to a situation in which Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the defendant’s bench,” Netanyahu said.
“We will not agree that IDF commanders and soldiers, who – heroically and in a moral fashion – defended our citizens against a brutal and criminal enemy, will be condemned as war criminals. We reject this absurdity outright.”
Livni responded by saying:
I have no problem with the world wanting to judge Israel, the problem starts the moment Israeli soldiers are compared to terrorists.
First, there’s the fact (also pointed out by The Lede) that Livni’s parents belonged to the terrorist group Irgun.
Israel deliberately targeted the civilian population of Gaza in its full-scale military assault on the territory a year ago. Don’t take my word for it. That’s also the conclusion of Richard Goldstone, the Zionist Jew who headed up the U.N. Human Rights Council investigation of potential war crimes. Here’s an excerpt from an interview he gave with Bill Moyers:
BILL MOYERS: You wrote, quote, the military operation, this military operation in Gaza, was a result of the disrespect for the fundamental principle of â€˜distinction’ in international humanitarian law. So in layman’s language, the distinction between what and what?
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Between combatants and innocent civilians.
BILL MOYERS: And you’re saying Israel did not do that, in many of these incidents.
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.
BILL MOYERS: Did you find evidence that that is deliberate on their part?
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, we did. We found evidence in statements made by present and former political and military leaders, who said, quite openly, that there’s going to be a disproportionate attack. They said that if rockets are going to continue, we’re going to hit back disproportionately. We’re going to punish you for doing it. And that’s not countenanced by the law of war.
BILL MOYERS: So they were doing, on the ground, what they had said earlier they intended to do.
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.
BILL MOYERS: -so there was intention.
From the Jerusalem Post:
The arrest warrant issued against former foreign minister Tzipi Livni in a British court “makes a mockery of universal jurisdiction,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Tuesday.
Ayalon, who was also the subject of a potential arrest warrant on a trip to the UK last month, urged the British government to address the loophole in the legal system making the warrants possible.
“I don’t see how Israelis and other officials can continue to visit the UK if this troublesome situation continues,” the deputy foreign minister said.
So, what is “troublesome” to Ayalon is that people want to hold Israeli leaders accountable for war crimes. Committing war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians and the civilian infrastructure of Gaza is obviously not so “troublesome” to Ayalon and his ilk.