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Israeli Foreign Ministry Humiliates Another Foreign Visitor

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Now it is the UK’s turn. Israel’s foreign ministry has repeated its history of embarrassing ministers and officials visiting its country. The UK’s foreign secretary, William Hague, is on an official visit to Israel. He is also slated to visit the occupied territories. On the very first day of Mr. Hague’s visit, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson said Israel was postponing “strategic dialogue” with Britain. The UK and Israel have been conducting strategic dialogue over defense and security issues for several years.

This is not the first time Israel has humiliated visiting foreign officialsWillam Hague. Prominent examples in the recent past were the US’ Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in March 2010 and the summoning of Turkey’s envoy over a Turkish TV series. Both incidents caused major problems for Israel. Though an Israeli spokesperson denied that the latest development was a deliberate one, it said the same in Joe Biden’s issue. But so far, Britain’s response has been too mild to mention.

Joe Biden’s Visit

In the second week of March when the Vice President of the US, Joe Biden, was going to visit Israel to bring momentum to indirect talks between Palestinians and Israelis, Israel announced the construction of 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, an occupied territory. The timing of that announcement called into question the very integrity of the US initiative on the Middle East peace process.

US President Barack Obama described the announcement that overshadowed Biden’s visit to Israel as destructive to peace talks and an “insult” to the US government. Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, was summoned and reprimanded about the affair. Mr. Oren said then that Israel’s ties with the US were at their lowest and in the most serious crisis since 1975.

Turkey’s Envoy

Turkish envoy to Israel, Ahmet Celikkol, was summoned over a Turkish television series in October 2009 that showed Israeli security forces kidnapping Palestinian children and killing elders during the Gaza attack. The same was acknowledged by the UNHRC-commissioned Goldstone’s report on the Gaza attack. But Israel was infuriated over the television series and summoned the Turkish ambassador without informing him that he was to be reprimanded. Mr. Celikkol came to know about the reprimand only after arriving for the meeting and seeing the press and TV reporters.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the reporters in Hebrew during the televised meeting, “Pay attention [to the fact] that he is sitting in a lower chair…that there is only an Israeli flag on the table and that we are not smiling.” Turkey became furious at the diplomatic slight and demanded an official apology from Israel. Mr. Ayalon issued a statement offering a semi-apology, but Turkey rejected it.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a letter to Turkey on January 13 offering his formal apology to Turkey. With that the particular issue came to an end but the relations between the two countries continued to weaken further with Israel’s air raid over the Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza, which killed eleven people even though the flotilla was still in international waters.

Universal Jurisdiction

Britain has a law on war crimes that relies on the principle of universal jurisdiction, which means that foreigners can be arrested in the UK for alleged crimes committed abroad. Pro-Palestinian campaigners have tried several times to get Israeli officials arrested for war crimes committed in the Gaza war. Arrest warrants were issued for several Israeli officials and ministers. Some of them are:

  • A London court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in December 2009 at the request of a Palestinian lawyer.  It was later canceled after it was learned that she was not visiting the UK.
  • Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor was forced to cancel his visit to London earlier this week (November 1), after the British Foreign Office and Ministry of Justice warned him he could face an arrest warrant from pro-Palestinian activists for alleged war crimes.
  • The Israeli minister and former chief of staff of IDF, Moshe Ya’alon, who was involved in the killing of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh and 14 civilians in July 2002, had to cancel his visit to London after he was warned by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that he could face arrest for war crimes. He faced a warrant issued by a New Zealand court for the same reason. The court there said that New Zealand had an obligation to uphold the Geneva Convention.
  • In the first week of January 2010 a group of IDF officers ranking from major to colonel cancelled their visit to the UK to participate in talks about military cooperation after learning that they could be arrested for war crimes. Although they demanded a guarantee of safety, because of the law British officials could not give one.
  • An Israeli general, Doron Almog, escaped arrest in Heathrow Airport for a private prosecution by not leaving the plane in which he had travelled to London in 2005.
  • Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak also escaped arrest when he was visiting Britain in October 2009, as he possessed diplomatic immunity as a serving minister.

Amending the Law

However, the present British coalition government has told Israel they are moving quickly to amend the law to enable Israeli officials and ministers to visit Britain without fear of being arrested. In the past, an attempt had been made to hand over the power of approving arrest warrants issued by the courts to the Attorney General before they were carried out. It did not succeed because of fierce protest by lawyers.

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About Sekhar

  • Ruvy

    This article is just tripe and garbage, Sekhar – filled with disingenuous refusals to link causes to action, and filled with self-righteous citations of illegal legislation.

    But, if in your eyes, Avigdor Liberman has humiliated the human trash that passes for Britain’s foreign secretary, that is fine with me. The bum deserves humiliation.

  • Ruvy

    For another point of view – one far more in line with reality than your delusional screed, try this Facebook link. It may not open for you.

  • #1 There you are, Ruvy!

    #2 It did not open as you said. Why to provide such link when you already know it would not open for me? Strange!

  • zingzing

    everyone, excepting israelis, and including half of them as well, is “human trash” in ruvy’s eyes. but at least he recognize our humanity.

  • Begrudgingly.

  • zingzing

    perhaps unwittingly.

  • Ruvy

    Sekhar, the link was to a conversation on FB about one of the more perfidious actions of the British – and more traitorous ones of the Israelis. I said it may not open because I was not sure it would, not because I was sure it wouldn’t.

    British perfidy is never-ending, so it comes as no surprise. But the action of the Israeli government in allowing the Brits to get away with this perfidy is treasonous.

  • Ruvy

    @#5 – very begrudgingly.

  • Ruvy

    Finally, Sekhar, this article from Debkafiles takes the same facts you did, laid them out in PROPER order, and gave a clear accounting of what occurred. This is the clear linkages of events that you managed NOT to mention in your screed.

    He was informed that Israel had halted the strategic dialogue with the UK in protest against the failure of

    successive British governments to repeal a law allowing private individuals to file war crimes suits against foreign dignitaries.

    Since 2005, pro-Palestinian activists have used the concept of “universal jurisdiction” to threaten Israeli leaders with arrest for alleged war crimes. Several serving and former Israeli leaders have cancelled trips to Britain after being warned they could be arrested. The latest was Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who cancelled his trip to Britain last month to avoid prosecution for taking part in the government decision to intercept a Turkish vessel threatening to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Nine Turks were killed resisting an Israeli army raid.

    “As long as they (Israeli delegates) can’t come to Britain without fearing arrest, they won’t come out,” said Andy David, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. “The ball is in their (Britain’s) court.”

  • #9 What you mentioned is already there in the link added in my article Ruvy. I didn’t avoid it. I provided a link to it. I cannot reproduce everything you know. I would like to pick up those points so as to present my case without rupturing their context. I have provided some hints also about British governments’ statements in my articles. Didn’t I?

  • And, Ruvy, I want to remind you that it was the successive British governments that put forth the idea of creation of Israeli state since the start of 20th century, of course out of their own interests. A part of their interest may be to vacate Israelis living in the European countries in the name of creating a nation state of their own.

    The primary reason is to create a strategic hot spot amid oil rich Arab countries. British state’s interests are one sided. But, Britishers are not. Several of them share genuine feelings of the oppressed people everywhere in the world, no matter what their race or nationality is.

    Ruvy, you must understand that there are several oppressed nations, races, religions and cultures in some form or other. At present, Israeli state is not an oppressed one but an oppressing state. It is oppressing genuine national aspirations of the Palestinians. Even Britain and the US that helped create Israel as part of their strategic interests in the region, are forced to acknowledge it, because it is a fact, whether one likes it or not. One has right to love his nation but has no right in any form to deny the rights of other nations.

    In one of your comments on one of my other articles you said Israelis had migrated from Egypt and conquered Israeli land. Shouldn’t now the Israelis claim Egypt as their homeland and conquer it. Your state has piled up hundreds of nuclear war heads of course without admitting it and without allowing IAEA inspectors. They may help Israelis to conquer Egypt and form an ever greater Israel.

    And since Jordan river feeds the land of the other side, and Jordan river belongs to Israel (I don’t know whether this is true but I strongly believe that theyre must be biblical writings on Jordan river which automatically suggest Jordan river is Israelis’ own asset), why shouldn’t other side of the Jordan river also become part of greater Israel?

    A philosopher said a true nationalist believes in respecting other nationalist feelings. A nationalist who begins to hate other nationalities, would soon begin to hate his own national people doubting their national respect or national origin on some pretext. Racial integrity and national aspirations are not a rock solid material that never changes. They continuously evolve towards better societies. Copy righted national sentiments may not help racial and national co-existences. Such sentiments are detrimental to the peaceful evolution of human civilizations.

  • Ruvy


    I don’t expect you to believe any pious words I might utter about “respecting other nationalities”.

    But I am generally open when opportunities for peace seem to present their way. Witness this Facebook conversation between me and an Arab journalist, Mudar Zahran.

    Is there a road to peace between us? Is there a way we can make it happen?

    I would rather sit and have coffee or tea with my neighbors down the hill on Levona than have Border Guards destroy their homes and harass them – or have terrorists and European Jew-haters incite them to hate me and mine. Levona may be a good place to figure out how to make peace between our peoples.

    You have to understand, my people do not have enough political awareness, and the Arabs have been able to mislead them for long, as well as the Jew hating countries that are deemed super powers.
    Only solution is that my people return home….to Palestine (AKA Jordan)…any Palestinian homeland or state on Israeli soil will bring us more hate and trouble…I am being honest, my friend….open Jordan for them…and they will leave happily….and willingly…..never mind stuff like “we shall never leave blah blah blah”

    Thank you for your honesty, sir. Rav Kahane, may his memory be for a blessing, and may his blood be avenged, said of you Arabs living in this country, “they must go”. This never sat well with me. I have always believed that “good fences make good neighbors” and twenty years of living in the midwestern United States convinced me that this was so. You are telling me that I am wrong – and that Kahane was right. I would expect my neighbors, embittered of dealing with terrorism as they are, to say this. That you say this is quite unexpected.

    If you say this is the best solution for the Arabs in south Syria, then may they go with a blessing of peace upon them, and laden with riches, that they might build a prosperous home east of the Jordan, and that their children might grow up knowing peace, and seeking joy. May you see the day when you can return home in happiness in peace, looking upon each new day with the deep pleasure of having finally come home.

    May G-d allow us, in our humble and low states, to bring this about.

  • Ruvy, Are you suggesting Palestinians home land is Jordan, and they have to go Jordan instead of historical Palestine? Pardon me, I don’t get it.

  • Ruvy

    Sekhar, I’M suggesting nothing. MUDAR ZAHRAN is stating that his home Palestine, AKA Jordan, is where his people will be able to develop peacefully – separate and apart from the Jews, because they presently lack the political awareness to live together in peace with us. THAT IS HIS OPINION, AND THOSE ARE HIS WORDS. He is stating that Jews and Arabs cannot live together, and since the Arabs already have 77% of the original Palestine Mandate (which was exclusively for Jews in the first place), it is enough. We should keep Western Palestine, and they will keep Eastern Palestine. I’m citing this to you this way because it is HIS POINT OF VIEW, SPEAKING AS AN ARAB.

  • Ruvy

    That is why I cited it at all. The point of my remarks was that Mudar Zahran did not believe Jews and Arabs could peacefully live together. He basically said what Rabbi Kahane had said – and it surprised me.

    But, to my regret, he is right. I posted this on Facebook a ½ hour ago.


    This is reported from one of my sons, who was a passenger on the bus. A yellow light flared in front of the bus as an Arab vehicle passed it going the other way. The driver ordered the passengers off the bus, waited till the flare of the firebomb went out, and then when it went out, he ordered the passengers to return into the bus. The bus continued up the hill into Ma’ale Levona and the driver told the local security who called the army into the area. No one was hurt.

  • Ruvy

    By the way, Sekhar, the historical Kingdom of David and Solomon, which determines what is called “historical Palestine” included most of Jordan, southern Lebanon and the Golan. That’s “HISTORICAL Palestine”.

  • I see. Thanks for the information Ruvy. You know, Ruvy, I’m learning from you what Jews feeling are on the conflict. I think you represent a section of the Jews, but not all, as I read from other sites run by Jews, like ‘Tikun Olam’.