Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 02:12 am (KSA) 23:12 pm (GMT)

Forcing Livni to flee

Diana Mukkaled

It will take us more time to verify whether former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni really did visit London, or let us say “sneaked” into the British capital, and escaped before the British authorities had the chance to arrest her after a British judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

What’s certain is that the impact of the legal and judicial action that Palestinian and British human rights activists began around a year ago to pursue Israeli officials for the crimes committed during the Gaza war has begun.

The Israeli and Western media's disregard of this issue, and the lack of details and information being revealed, confirms that the fears previously expressed by Israeli commentators have become a fact or at least closer to the truth.

Even if we believe Livni, whose office announced that she would not be visiting London and that she cancelled her visit to deliver a lecture at a Jewish conference, this remains a puzzling and unconvincing justification. If Livni did not travel secretly then at best she avoided travelling so that she would not be subjected to judicial pursuit and arrest. This is precisely what former and current senior Israeli officials must consider when they decide to travel to Britain, and this is something that may develop to include subsequent countries with the development of the lawsuit…

Israel, which devoted propaganda and media efforts in the period following the Gaza war in order to contain the images of massacres and destruction that it caused the Palestinians, was scared that [matters] would reach this stage; that international law would begin to cripple its diplomatic and political action and its leaders would become subjected to being pursued around the world.

What happened last week is the beginning of a course that will not be tolerated by Israel and features of a crisis have begun to appear between Israel and the British government following the ruling by the British judge.

However with regards to the course of this international lawsuit, and even if this weakens and [experiences] difficulty, we must stop and reflect on the absence of Arab influence on an issue that has effectively rocked Israel…for the Arab anger at the Gaza war was far below what this crime required. Since the end of this war until today there have been at least two linked events [responding to the war] and neither of them had any Arab involvement. These were the judicial report [issued] by Richard Goldstone who openly accused Israel of committing war crimes, and the Arabs along with the Palestinians failed to invest in this. The other event was the ruling of a British judge to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni. These two events confirm the futility of our methods in pursuing our rights and causes through a language of direct incitement and [instead] confirm the success of methods that we have never established or adopted with regards to the way we deal with our causes and tragedies.

Provoking and instigating Arab public opinion is very easy but to begin to follow a judicial and legal course is serious work that could take years, and this is a tradition that we are yet to establish.

We are not deluded in thinking that this course would be an easy one, especially with the major obstacles on the path to peace and with the American withdrawal of Palestinian support; but this undoubtedly makes resorting to the legal international path even more urgent.

*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on Dec. 17, 2009.

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