Press Release 10 October 2011

Tzipi Livni

Scottish Friends of Palestine welcomes and endorses the following Press Release from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK). That both major UK political parties should support the change in the Law of Universal Jurisdiction which now allows suspected war criminals to visit Britain is nothing short of self-seeking hypocrisy of which both parties should be thoroughly ashamed.

If there was enough evidence, previously, to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni then why was not one issued this week to prevent her entry to the UK? To argue “public interest” immunity is simply an excuse for “political expediency.” Have our politicians not learned from recent experience? Or is it a matter of time until “public interest” also returns Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to the fold?

While political parties are ultimately judged at the ballot box, not so for the BBC. That a publicly funded body should host a suspected war criminal is totally unacceptable. That radio 4’s interviewer, Justin Webb, should conclude by hoping that she enjoys her stay in London (a greeting rarely, if ever, extended to other guests on his news programme) is sickening sycophancy. Or perhaps it is just what we have come to expect from the BBC?

UK government complicit in protecting Israeli war criminals
Tzipi Livni given special immunity by Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Thursday 6th October

Protesters will be gathering at 5pm today to protest against the government’s complicity in enabling Israeli war criminals to evade justice. Even following the government’s changes to the process for arrest warrants for war criminals, Livni also had to be granted ‘special mission’ status by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to protect her from an arrest warrant.

Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, said: ‘It is clear that the CPS received substantial evidence against Tzipi Livni. An arrest warrant had previously been issued against Tzipi Livni in December 2009 following significant evidence relating to her part in crimes committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead, when over 1400 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s attack on Gaza.

‘The Israeli government has pressed Britain to change its laws to allow Israeli citizens who are suspected of war crimes to avoid arrest. But even the recent changes aren’t enough to guarantee that war criminals will not face justice. The only way that Livni could escape prosecution was by the British government issuing her with special immunity.

‘It is clear that the UK government is complicit in protecting war criminals, by providing them with immunity from prosecution. Why are they not allowing the evidence to be tested, and for the judicial system to play its proper role in determining whether someone is guilty or innocent of war crimes?

‘The government has opened the floodgates for Israelis suspected of war crimes to come to London and demand similar treatment. Tzipi Livni said she hoped the ‘hospitality for me today will herald the arrival of IDF officials in the kingdom to strengthen the bond between our countries’. Israeli general Doron Almog, who was forced to flee Britain when an arrest warrant was issued against him in 2005, also announced that he wants to visit Britain now. Is the British government going to give every suspected Israeli war criminal ‘special mission’ status?

‘Those committed to peace and human rights will not rest until those responsible for Israel’s war crimes are brought to justice, and until the British government upholds international law and ends its complicity in protecting war criminals.’



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