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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Palestinians,' British lawyers seek to have Barak arrested in London

The 'Palestinians' and their British lawyers are seeking to have Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrested for 'war crimes' while he is in London for a speaking engagement.
Currently, the top-of-the-page headline on the home page of the influential left-wing British newspaper The Guardian is “Lawyers seek arrest of Israeli defence minister in UK for alleged war crimes.”

Ehud Barak, who is the leader of Israel’s Labor Party, is due to speak at a meeting at the British Labour party conference in the Southern English town of Brighton today. Barak is also scheduled to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and David Miliband, the foreign secretary, for talks on the Middle East and Iran.

The Guardian notes that “The accusations against Barak are based, in part, on a United Nations investigation conducted by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone. It concluded earlier this month that Israel had committed war crimes.”
At this writing, the Magistrates Court in London has postponed a hearing on the matter. Barak believes he is immune from arrest because he is a minister in the Israeli government. Incredibly, the British Foreign Ministry has refused to take a position on the issue.
"We can confirm that Ehud Barak is in the UK. He is scheduled to meet the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister for discussions on the Middle East peace process, Gaza and Iran," a Foreign Office spokesperson said. "We are aware that Westminster Magistrates' Court have received an application for a warrant for the arrest of Ehud Barak but we cannot comment on live legal issues."

...

The legal request was filed after 16 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip instructed Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based human rights group, to issue the charges. Al-Mezan in turn instructed the two London firms to represent the group.

Prior to the hearing, a spokesman for ITN [one of the law firms representing the 'Palestinians' CiJ] told The Jerusalem Post that an arrest warrant had been lodged and that the biggest hurdle would be Barak's diplomatic immunity, but added that he was confident that they had a strong legal argument which would override the issue of immunity.

He said that should the court not decide whether to issue the warrant, then his firm would appeal for an injunction to stop Barak from leaving the country.

While the court postponed further proceedings, it did not specify at what point those proceedings would begin.
Barak is in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.

One would have hoped that the British Foreign Office would have taken the position that lawfare cannot be used to interfere with affairs of state. Alas, they have not done so.

What could go wrong?

3 Comments:

At 8:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Barak can be arrested in the UK, no Israeli official will be safe abroad. One of the aims of Israel's enemies is to bring about a complete isolation of the country. And for them a possible arrest of Barak offers them a test case to see if they can get away with it.

What could go wrong indeed

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger Manker said...

Carl,

While this is obviously bad in certain degrees, I have to give Barak credit in this case. He was told to leave, and he stared down this threat and the fact is that the UK government has now forced the issue to be denied a hearing.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3783053,00.html

The fact is that Barak has sent an indirect message; "arrest me and you'll never participate in your beloved peace process again" Because which UK politician would dare to visit Israel afterwards, out of fear of arrest for war crimes?

While I would never want him as PM again, he has done something to help create a precedent for other Israeli politicians and soldiers so that they can continue to visit other countries.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger GamesWorldWide said...

Its canceled:
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3783118,00.html

 

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