Monday, January 18, 2010

Livni: I'll Face Arrest in the UK

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Kadima), who held a key position in Israel's government during Operation Cast Lead, has announced she is willing to stand trial in the UK to settle, once and for all, the war crimes claims against her (and by extension, against the government of Israel).
Tzipi Livni, leader of a key Israeli opposition party, said Monday she would be willing to face arrest to challenge the validity of war crimes charges reportedly filed against her in a British court.

"For me, this is not a question," Livni told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, when asked whether she was willing to face arrest. "I mean, yes, the answer is yes. I am."

A British court last year issued an arrest warrant for Livni, leader of Israel's Kadima Party. Details of the warrant were never made public; the warrant was reportedly later dropped.

"I would like this to be, in a way, maybe even a test case, because I'm willing to speak up and to speak about the military operation in Gaza Strip," Livni said.

Livni had served as Israel's foreign minister during an Israeli three-week military offensive against Hamas in Gaza that ended exactly one year ago. The United Nations and some human-rights groups have blamed Israel and Hamas for human rights abuses during the conflict.

But Livni, who is no longer in the Israeli government, defended the former government's decision to go to war, saying that the campaign was needed to confront rocket attacks by Palestinian movement Hamas on Israeli civilians, particularly those living in southern Israel.

"I know that the decisions that we made were crucial to give an answer to Israeli civilians that couldn't live in the south part of Israel and later or even also in different parts of Israel," she said.

"It was part of my responsibility, and this was the right answer. And I'm willing to stand for these reasons and to explain this to -- to the world and to any court."

A bit early for the trial of the century, no? But in reality, I expect this is simply another step in a high-stakes game of chicken. The UK doesn't want this trial to go off anymore than Israel does. It's the diplomatic equivalent of a hand grenade being tossed about. At some point, the train will be derailed.

1 comment:

N. Friedman said...

I suspect that, most of all, those bigots who have been asserting "war criminal" and the like loudest do not want any prosecution. After all, then they would need to come forward with - i.e. actually find some - real evidence of real war crimes rather than waxing elegant.

And, on top of that, Livni would be able to come back with the part most clearly missing from the allegations of the bigots, namely, that there is a two way war.