Britain becomes Palestinian Israeli legal battleground
ISRAEL: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had a narrow
escape when he visited Britain earlier this week. Immediately prior to
his meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a group of
Palestinians attempted to use the court system to have him arrested for
alleged war crimes. Their bid failed.
The case is just the latest in a string of attempts by Palestinians
in Britain to protest Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.
Back in 2005, Doron Almog, a general with the Israel Defense Forces,
warned that he could possibly be arrested if he alighted from his plane
at London’s Heathrow Airport. Almog decided it would be best policy to
return to Israel there and then. “These are important attempts.
Palestinians feel that nobody is really listening to them so they’re
trying to use this avenue as a way of putting a halt to their ongoing
situation. They see it as a form of non-violent resistance,” said Andrea
Becker, the head of advocacy at the UK-based Medical Aid for
THE LEGAL PREMISE
The case against Barak on Tuesday originated in the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank.
Some 16 Palestinian families asked the Gaza- based rights
organization Al Mezan to investigate what legal recourse they had
following Israel’s military operation in and around Gaza last winter. Al
Mezan subsequently hired London lawyers to file a petition on behalf of
The basic premise of their case was the UK Geneva Conventions Act
1957. That statute gives courts in England and Wales universal
jurisdiction in war-crimes cases.
“Under the terms of the act the UK is ‘under a positive duty’ to
bring to court those who it is alleged have committed war crimes.
JERUSALEM, Friday, Xinhua