Palestinians in UK seek arrest warrant for visiting Israeli Defense Minister
A criminal law suit has been filed against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Britain, calling for his arrest over alleged war crimes. British lawyers representing several Palestinian families are seeking to obtain an international arrest warrant at the Westminster Magistrates Court against Barak who led Israel’s Gaza Strip offensive earlier this year. The lawyers have argued that the defense minister committed war crimes and violated the Geneva Convention in Operation Cast Lead earlier this year that left more than 1,387 Palestinians dead.
The accusations against Barak are partially based on a United Nations report released earlier this month by former South African judge Richard Goldstone that determined that Israel had committed war crimes by deliberately attacking Palestinians civilians. “No arrest warrant has been issued, and in any event, he has immunity due to his being a minister in the in the government,” the bureau said.
“Therefore, his program will continue without disturbance.”
Israeli government legal representatives have since contacted Barak and recommended that he leave Britain to avoid any legal complications. According to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the defense minister has decided against a premature departure.
Ehud Barak is scheduled to address Britain’s Labour Party’s annual conference on Tuesday. He is scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Gordon Brown later on Tuesday and Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday.