Israeli officials on Sunday criticized the British Ambassador to the United Nations John Sawers for backing a controversial United Nations report into Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza last winter, saying that such support could backfire when Britain tries to conduct its own war on terror.
The investigation into the three-week conflict, sparked by rocket fire from Gaza on Israel’s southern communities, was headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone. Israel has dismissed the report as one-sided, while the U.S. is believed to have pressed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from supporting its findings.
Sawers told Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday morning that he supports the findings of the Goldstone commission, and called for both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate its conclusions.
“London is waging its own war against terror, and they might find themselves with their hands tied if they back Goldstone’s recommendations,” the Israeli officials said. [continued…]
Almost 1,000 lawsuits alleging war crimes by Israeli ministers and military personnel have now been filed around the world, Israel has admitted.
And the situation could become immeasurably worse for Israel’s politicians and soldiers as efforts continue to have the Goldstone report, which accuses Israel and Hamas of crimes against humanity during last winter’s Gaza Strip invasion, raised at the United Nations.
Last week, Moshe Yaalon, one of four deputies to Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, cancelled a planned fundraising trip to Britain because he feared arrest on war-crimes warrants issued by human rights and pro-Palestinian groups.
The week before, the defence minister, Ehud Barak, only avoided arrest on a visit to the British Labour Party conference in Brighton after a court ruled that he had diplomatic immunity.
Israelis travelling without such diplomatic protection now face the possibility of arrest in many countries across the globe, including Norway, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Holland and Canada.
Human rights lawyers are using the principle of universal jurisdiction in international law to file suits worldwide for war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity.
According to Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister and a hardline nationalist, the estimated 964 international lawsuits now outstanding represent “a campaign to delegitimise Israel”. [continued…]
Turkey announced on Sunday the cancellation of an international air force drill at one of the country’s air force bases, which was to include Israeli jets.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been under pressure recently to exclude Israel from the drill, on the grounds that Israel should not be allowed to participate while its planes are bombing the Gaza Strip
Turkey, a secular country ruled by an Islamic-oriented party, had long been Israel’s best friend in the Muslim world. But ties have cooled sharply over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s sharp criticism of Israel’s winter war in the Gaza Strip, especially in light of a televised fracas between President Shimon Peres and Erdogan at the Davos Conference this past January. [continued…]