October 15, 2009
The Israeli Government has issued a 'stern' warning to the UK Government over the issuance of an arrest warrant under the Fourth Geneva Convention for the former Foriegn Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni. The message warned of increased tension and potential reduced relations over the incident, according to the Times of London in today's editions.
Under the convention, any country can arrest and try someone for crimes deemed so heinous that society in general would condemn them. In this case Livni had been a principal in the decisions to invade Gaza during the last go-round in the MIddle East--a situation described in the Goldstone Report, and condemned by the UN General Assembly. Since Livni had no diplomatic immunity as a former member of the Government, the warrant by the Westminister Court could have resulted in her arest and confinement. Instead, she cancelled her inteded trip to the UK and stayed home. Increasingly, there is reduced travel between israel and UK and other Eurpoean countries as the Geneva Conventions come up more frequently and requests are made for arrests in Europe. Israel is a signatory to the Conventions from 1951.
While these actions are seen by some as a ploy for publicity, it is increasing the pressure on Israel and other supporters, such as the US, to come to grips with the message that Israel cannot simply do what it chooses to the people of Gaza, or elsewhere, in violations of law, without consequences.
The UK Government should tell Israel to shove their 'stern' warning. They won't, of course, but it would go a long way to make them accou ntable for their indiscriminate large scale bombing, injury and killing of civilians, especially women and children in Gaza.