Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Israeli Officers Fear Prosecution

Could it be because they know they are guilty?

israelvisitcanceled A group of Israeli military officers called off an official visit to Britain last week, fearing they could face possible arrest on war crimes charges, officials said Tuesday.

The four unidentified officers, holding ranks from major to colonel, are the latest in a string of Israeli politicians and military officials to be forced to call off travel to Britain because of fear of legal prosecution.

Britain is one of the European pioneers of universal jurisdiction, a broad legal concept that empowers judges to issue arrest warrants for nearly any visitor accused of committing war crimes anywhere in the world.

Pro-Palestinian activists have sought to use this concept to press charges against Israelis involved in military operations in Palestinian territories, particularly since last year's Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. British officials have vowed to change the law, which has severely strained relations with Israel.

The Israeli delegation had been invited to visit by the British army. But officials said they were forced to call off the trip after their British counterparts could not guarantee that they would not be arrested.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter has become a sore point in relations with Britain. Neither the Israeli military nor the British government would comment.

Tuesday's announcement came as Britain's attorney general, Patricia Janet Scotland, was in Israel on a private visit. Scotland was scheduled to deliver a lecture at an Israeli university later Tuesday, though it was not clear if she would address the war crimes issue.

The British government has pledged to reform its war crimes law so its judges could no longer issue secret arrest warrants against Israeli officials or military officers. But no change has yet been put into effect... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

If we were talking about common soldiers, I would consider it inappropriate to arrest them.  All to often, enlisted personnel have been singled out to serve as scapegoats for the war crimes of their superiors.  Majors and colonels, however, are high enough in the military food chain that  they should have known better.

Frankly, the British law is fine, just the way it is.  Why should Israel get a special exemption?

On a practical note, I wish Britain would issue a special invitation to arrest Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Gonzales, Yoo and a few more.


the walking man said...

If the Israeli policy on Gaza and the Palestinians is not one of war crimes then they should have nothing to fear even if they are arrested right? Isn't that what democratic jurisprudence is all about, evidential hearings and conclusions based on the facts.

I wonder what the Israeli's are afraid of?

Lisa G. said...

I'm with you on that on walkingman. Good on the Brits, though for taking a tough stance on war criminals.

They do have those funny accents though, like the Aussies. I spent 2 weeks in Sydney (which is a gorgeous city, if you ever go to Australia, go there) doing an audit and made friends with the office manager (a woman) and we laughed ourselves silly over the language differences. I kept saying "what the hell are you talking about woman?" She kept calling her bf her "partner" so I thought she was gay. When she finally said his name, the day before we were going out to dinner with him, I said "Wait! Wait! Your "partner" is a GUY???" She said, "Well, what did you think partner meant?" I told her in the states most people who are gay say they have a partner. We laughed so hard we were both crying. And when we told him at dinner later, he said "You did NOT call me your "partner" to an American, did you?" I thought he was going to spit his drink out at the table. We laughed and laughed over that. On Facebook, we still have to explain to each other. :)

TomCat said...

Mark, I'd say they fear accountability.

Lisa, that's hilarious. Once I asked a female Internet friend how many fanny whacks she was getting for her birthday. I had no idea what that means there. {{blush}}

Lisa G. said...

My favorite: they call speed bumps "speed humps". If that is not pee your pants funny, I don't know what is!

Lisa G. said...

Everyone - please say a prayer for the killer assassin bunny, Quincy. He is not eating and he looks terrible.

I never realized how much I loved the little guy until now - I'm deathly allergic to him (yeah, out of all the pets to have, only bunnies am I allergic to) and I'm the one who feeds him 90% of the time. And I'm also the only one he bites. Go figure.

I almost had an asthma attack (even with the Claritan) taking him to the vet the other day. But he looks so miserable, and I've kept up on his meds and everything. He is the cutest bunny ever (everyone in the waiting room wanted to take him home) and I would really miss him if he died.

So please, if you pray, say one for Quincy, the cutest little dwarf bunny assassin that you've never met. He's an absolute doll and I'll post a pic of him soon.

I mean how is going to take over the banking crisis with Dulce if he's not here?

Please send good wishes at least - I don't want to tell my kids when they get home from their dad's house that their pet died.


ivan said...

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I was invited out by a gay friend.
I declined, explaining that in any event, I had haemorrhoids.

"That's nothing," he said. "We call them speed bumps."

TomCat said...

Lisa and Ivan, those are very cute indeed.

Lisa, I'll reply in the other thread.