It seems our Defense Minister may find himself in a bit of a legal pickle for his alleged “war crimes” committed in Gaza in December/January when he decided enough was enough and Hamas should stop firing rockets at Israel already. A lawyer representing Palestinian families apparently asked a London court to order the arrest of Ehud Barak on suspicion of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Barak was urged by government officials in Israel to leave Britain immediately. But like a man, he stayed, instead of running away at the threats. As I type this, he is still there, and we don’t know exactly what will happen.
When I heard this, my mind moved right to Ahmadenijad and Gaddafi as they twaddled around New York, the latter actually looking for a place to pitch his tent. Nobody would let him, thank God, and he had to spend the night in the Lybian embassy without a tent, poor soul. Why doesn’t anybody arrest THESE people on suspicion of war crimes? I’d say bombing a plane full of civilians counts, or seeking nuclear weapons maybe? How about just being a dictator? Why doesn’t that count for anything anymore?
The argument Israel is planning to make is that Barak, as an official in the Israel government, has diplomatic immunity, which means even if he WERE a war criminal, they can’t really touch him. But the secret is this. This doesn’t really have to do with legal issues, whether he has immunity or not, or whether he is actually a war criminal. It has to do with, yes, Anti Semitism. If they really want to prosecute Barak, believe me, they’ll find a way to do it.
In my opinion, Israel shouldn’t make any legal arguments to anyone besides the following one: “Be quiet and leave me alone.”
And who wants to even think about what will happen to the dying Labor party if Barak is detained in England for war crimes? What happens to Netanyahu’s coalition then?
Barak is scheduled to meet today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Minister David Miliband about the Iranian issue, and was warned about a possible move such as this, which was finally made by attorney Michel Massiah.
The British court is expected to decide Tuesday whether to discuss the claim, which was filed on behalf of Palestinian families hurt during the Gaza war.
The Defense Minister’s office refused to comment on the lawsuit filed against him.