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Israelis Escape UK over Arrest Fears

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TEHRAN, July 9 (ICANA) – Two Israeli regime officials have fled Britain over the past week over fears that they could face arrest over war crimes charges linked with the regime's atrocities in the Palestinian territories including Gaza.
Saturday, July 09, 2011 7:37:03 PM
Israelis Escape UK over Arrest Fears

Retired Israeli Major General Danny Rothschild who coordinated the regime's military operations in the 1990's had to leave his London visit unfinished after a warning from Israeli embassy that said he could face arrest if he did not leave the country immediately, Haaretz reported.

Last year, Britain pledged to “urgently” reform the Universal jurisdiction regulations, which allow prosecution of war criminals within British borders, to ensure Israeli officials visit the country freely even when they are accused of serious violations of human rights.

Under the universal jurisdiction regulations, British judges could issue arrest warrants for Israeli officials visiting the UK without seeking approval from the state prosecutor.

This comes as Knesset member and former Israeli Labor leader Amir Peretz also ran away from Britain over similar concerns just a day earlier than Rothschild.

Activists have at least once managed to secure an arrest warrant for Israeli officials. That was when activists got an arrest warrant for former Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni back in 2009 ahead of her visit to Britain, effectively preventing her from entering the country.

Rothschild was scheduled to address MPs and later speak at a think-thank on Tuesday but he rushed out of Britain after receiving the Israeli embassy warning taking the Eurostar to France before flying to the occupied territories to evade Heathrow passport checks.

The British government moved to appease Tel Aviv back in December 2010 with a reforms bill that would shift the jurisdiction to the director of public prosecution.

But Israeli officials are likely to face more urgent escapes before the bill passes through the parliament.

The British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould has claimed that the bill is meant to prevent “the law from being misused for political reasons” where “there is no realistic chance of prosecution”.

“We remain committed to upholding international justice, and continue to believe that those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice. The change in the law will not affect our ability to do so," Gould added.

He did not specify whether the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian people - most of them civilians - by the Israeli regime's forces during Cast Lead Operation is considered a war crime.

Nor did he refer to the report by the United Nation's Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that found the Israeli regime used “disproportionate force” against Palestinian civilians during the operation and slammed the regime for war crimes over the use of illegal white phosphorous bombs among others.

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