U.K. Detains IDF Officer on Gaza War Allegations

YERUSHALAYIM -

A former IDF officer was detained by British authorities recently on allegations of war crimes, and only released after intervention by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The detention was brief, lasting only a few hours, during which he was questioned extensively about his role in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014. Although it was not known for sure why he was singled out, it was thought that his name probably appeared on a list furnished to U.K. authorities by pro-Palestinian groups accusing certain IDF soldiers of committing war crimes.

British officials afterwards apologized to the officer.

The Foreign Ministry on Motzoei Shabbos stressed that the officer was released thanks solely to its intervention.

Israeli military and civilian officials have been threatened with arrest before, and visits to Britain have been postponed to avoid such trouble, but this was the first time anyone was actually detained and questioned about the Gaza war.

Last June, the Foreign Ministry made last-minute immunity arrangements for former IDF chief of staff and defense minister Shaul Mofaz to visit the UK after it became known that he was at risk of being arrested on accusations of war crimes during the second intifada.

Four years ago, the British government approved a change to the controversial universal jurisdiction law, which has been used by anti-Israel activists to obtain arrest warrants for alleged war crimes by Israeli dignitaries visiting the UK.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and former defense minister Ehud Barak have also been subject to the same kind of legal harrassment.

In a visit a few months ago, an online petition demanded that Scotland Yard arrest Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, though nothing came of it.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon dismissed it as “a public relations stunt that has no practical significance,”