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Posts tagged ‘Foreign Office’

UK silence on Israel’s detention of Palestinian children

In 2012, a report by a UK government-sponsored delegation of lawyers to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories found Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in military detention to be in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Six years on, however, and Israel has made only modest changes; according to government minister Alistair Burt, speaking in the Houses of Parliament earlier this year, Israel has implemented just one of 43 specific recommendations made by the lawyers. Read more

Immunity and impunity: Britain protects Tzipi Livni once again

Once again, Israeli opposition politician and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity by the British government for a private visit to London.

Last week, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit invited Tzipi Livni to a police interview under caution, in relation to her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). At the time, Livni was foreign minister, vice prime minister, and a member of the security cabinet.

The summons, described in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “unprecedented”, was only “cancelled after diplomatic contacts between Israel and Britain, at the end of which Livni received immunity.” Read more

UK government lines up with Israeli bullying from UN to the town hall

The Conservative Party is fast cementing the British government’s reputation as one of Israel’s strongest allies, even as Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition pursues settlement expansion, land expropriation and nationalist legislation.

While there has long been a disparity between the UK government’s position on international law and action (or lack of it) taken in response to Israeli breaches, under the current government, that gap is only getting wider.

In recent times, the Tories have pursued a foreign policy that opposes modest Palestinian attempts at accountability, and at home, have sought to intimidate and suppress Palestine solidarity activism. Read more

Britain re-writes diplomatic protocol to protect Israeli officials

In recent weeks the UK government has once again shown itself to be entirely unwilling to hold Israeli war crimes suspects to account, to the extent that the Foreign Office is leaving its procedures open to ridicule.

At the end of last month, IDF Major General (res.) Doron Almog was scheduled to visit Britain in order to meet with the UK Task Force, an organisation that coordinates engagement by Jewish groups on issues relating to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Almog was presumably invited in his capacity as “chief of staff” for implementing a pending Israeli government plan to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens in the Negev. But the military man is perhaps better known for narrowly escaping arrest in 2005 at Heathrow airport, after a warrant was issued based on allegations of war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip. Read more

A very special mission

Last month, on the day that changes in universal jurisdiction law went into effect, Israel’s former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said she “received a phone call” from UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould telling her “there is no longer a warrant for my arrest”.

Yet when Livni arrived in Britain on Thursday, something went wrong. In what was billed as a “test case” for a law designed to remove the threat of arrest for visiting Israeli officials, Livni only avoided a warrant due to a legal assessment by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that she was on a “Special Mission”. Read more