Yediot names two of the IDF officers in danger of arrest in UK
The Yediot report expands on yesterday’s (January 5 2010,) which revealed that a senior IDF delegation to UK was cancelled at last minute for fear of arrests. At bottom is a Maariv news item on the attempt by British Attorney General Patricia Scotland, currently visiting Israel, to placate the local elite.
Note that Colonel Virob is also in hot water for testifying that the beating of Palestinian detainees in the West Bank constituted normative behavior in the IDF. A Haaretz report from February 2009 describes Brigadier Halevi as a “brilliant officer, who also excelled in combat [who] categorically refuses to open the Pandora’s box of moral debate [regarding the Gaza war.]“
Yossi Yehoshua and Itamar Eichner, Yediot, January 6 2010 [page 9]
Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that Brig. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Colonel Itai Virob were part of the military delegation that was supposed to leave for Britain last week.
As reported yesterday, Israel canceled the planned visit by the military delegation to the UK after British authorities said they could not guarantee that the IDF officers would not be arrested. Brig. Gen. Halevi was the commander of the Paratroopers Brigade during Operation Cast Lead, and Colonel Virob, formerly the commander of the Kfir Brigade, also entered the Gaza Strip in the course of that operation with one of his battalions. Meanwhile, the British attorney general, who is visiting Israel at present, said yesterday that the UK would take urgent action to change the policy that allowed for arrest warrants to be issued against high-ranking Israeli officials [More on UK AG's statement in Maariv item below].
Eli Bardenstein, Maariv, January 6 2010 [page 6]
British Attorney General Patricia Scotland said last night in a lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem: The government understands the urgent need to change the system in order to prevent lawsuits against Israelis, and is determined to enable Israeli leaders to travel freely to Britain.
Among the people came to hear Scotland were Supreme Court President Judge Dorit Beinish, Supreme Court Judge Edna Arbel and British Ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips.
The British attorney general said that there should not be a safe haven for war criminals in any democratic country, but it should also be ensured that the law would not be used for the sake of one political campaign or another. Scotland emphasized that until the law was amended, the policy according to which judges could issue arrest warrants against senior Israeli figures would not change.
Earlier in the day, Scotland met with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.