British authorities detained a retired IDF officer on war crimes charges upon his arrival in the UK. He was on a list compiled by pro-Palestinian activists.
A retired IDF officer was questioned for several hours on charges of war crimes and finally released mainly due to intervention by Israel’s foreign ministry, as well as by the Operations Directorate and International Law Department of the IDF. British authorities later apologized to Israel for the detention.
The retired officer’s name was on a list prepared by pro-Palestinian activists who included any soldier who fought in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, which Israel had launched in response to the escalation of terror from Hamas-ruled Gaza, and whose identity was posted online. During the war, 67 IDF soldiers died defending the country, and hundreds were wounded.
“This includes 60 recipients of citations for excellence during the operation whose names and photographs were released by the IDF. For the Israeli public, it’s a badge of honor, but for pro-Palestinian organizations it’s the bread and butter of their delegitimization war against Israel,” a source told Ynet News.
“It is not just arrest warrants or delays of chiefs of staff or former generals, such as (former IDF chief) Gabi Ashkenazi, or (former head of Military Intelligence) Amos Yadlin, but the persecution of the every last soldier who served in the operation and whose identity was officially released,” the source explained.
There have been previous attempts by anti-Israel activists to have Israeli officials and senior IDF officers apprehended upon arrival in Great Britain. In late June, for instance, former Defense Minister and IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz was nearly arrested when he visited London. At the time, Mofaz was greeted at the airport by two Israeli diplomats. His arrest was avoided after swift action by the Israeli embassy in London and the British embassy in Israel.
Threats to arrest Israeli officials in the UK have been ongoing. In August, an online petition was launched demanding that Scotland Yard arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes upon his arrival in London the following month, when he visited British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and other issues of concern. The petition’s author, Damian Moran, alleged that international law dictates that Netanyahu should be detained for “the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.”
Israel dismissed the petition as a PR stunt.