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PCHR slams immunity for Israel army chief on UK visit
Published Wednesday 03/07/2013 (updated) 06/07/2013 11:21
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Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish a fire after an Israeli
air strike on the building of Hamas' Ministry of Interior in Gaza
City Nov. 16, 2012.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Tuesday condemned a decision by the United Kingdom to grant immunity to Israel's army chief while visiting the country.

Lt. General Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, arrived in the UK of Tuesday, in the first visit of an Israeli army chief since 1998.

The UK government granted Gantz's trip the status of Special Mission, thus granting him immunity from the UK's criminal justice system, PCHR said.

Hickman & Rose Solicitors, who represent the victims of General Gantz's actions together with PCHR, said the decision "sends the dangerous message that political considerations will be placed ahead of the rule of law."

"Credible evidence exists indicating Mr. Gantz's involvement in the commission of war crimes: these allegations should be investigated and, if appropriate, Mr. Gantz should be prosecuted," PCHR said.

"He should not be pre-emptively granted immunity by the UK Government, circumventing normal criminal justice procedures."

Lt. General Gantz is suspected of involvement in the commission of war crimes, particularly with respect to his role in the November 2012 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Pillar of Defense, PCHR says.

A week earlier, the UK government also applied Special Mission status to the visit of Major General Doron Almog, a retired army official suspected of war crimes, granting him immunity from Britain's criminal justice system.

Mr. Almog canceled his scheduled UK visit at the last minute for unknown reasons.

In 2005, a British court issued an arrest warrant for Major General Doron Almog in relation to the destruction of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafah refugee camp in 2002 as part of a sustained policy of house demolitions in Gaza, PCHR said.

British police were preparing to arrest Almog on suspicion of war crimes after he and his wife flew to the United Kingdom in 2005, but he refused to leave his plane at Heathrow airport following a tip-off about the arrest warrant and was allowed to return to Israel.

The decision to grant immunity to both Israeli officials "sends the clear message that Israel can commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip with impunity," PCHR said.

There is a risk, the group said, that Special Missions will be used to protect allies of the government and undermine the "basic principle of equal application of the law and the UK’s international legal obligation to seek out and prosecute suspected war criminals."
1 ) Mel / USA
03/07/2013 16:47
He should be CITIZEN arrested anyway! Legislators are ON THE SIDE of illegal occupiers who're persecuting innocents.It's like giving Himmler immunity,while Germany's camps are filled with'non-Aryans'! Cameron's an accomplice to Israeli WAR CRIMES & is TOO WEAK,like Blair,to admit UK/BRUSSELS are in an economic,foreign relations/policy disaster,due to following D.C. corrupt policy disasters! Cameron gives USG war-crimes impunity,as does EUC. So,it's up to the PEOPLE to lead.Arrest Gantz!

2 ) Arnold / Canada
03/07/2013 18:18
If he was granted this special status then it seems his visit was of utmost importance for the security of Britain.

3 ) Eric L / USA
03/07/2013 20:55
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. It's quite comical to read an accusation and manipulation of UK law to claim that the Pillar of Defense involved any war crimes. The only war crimes were the use of human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Can you deny the fact that the PCHR considers ANY ACT OF SELF DEFENSE by Israel to be a war crime? (I thought not. Is it possible that such an honest statements this could even make it on maannews.net comment? let's find out)

4 ) Outlier / USA
03/07/2013 20:56
If Gazans do not like the consequences of launching missiles at Israel, they should stop launching missiles at Israel. Why they cannot understand this concept is a mystery.

5 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
03/07/2013 22:08
Why? Why not go after all war criminals including Palestinian war criminals? Or are the Pals afraid that their leaders would suddenly be afraid to travel abroad?

6 ) Libra - scales of justice / United Kingdom
03/07/2013 22:21
United Kingdom has lost the plot.

7 ) southparkbear / usa
03/07/2013 22:34
the decision to grant immunity sends a signal that rather than wasting time and money on nonsense court there is a quick way out, just ignore it

8 ) Zainab / UK
04/07/2013 14:44
.."The decision to grant immunity to both Israeli officials "sends the clear message that Israel can commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip with impunity," PCHR said".. - Yes, it does & clearly shows the world just how strong the Israel/US/UK government alliance is. Such a message does nothing for the security of the UK, nor for its citizens, many of whom do not agree with this alliance to begin with. We know the Zionist lobby rules the UK Parliment, so there is no surprise with 'Special Missions'.

9 ) royston / germany
04/07/2013 17:44
Eric El..you seem to have forgotten the much filmed and documented use of children by israeli soldiers as human shields. If in doubt..google..plenty of filmed incidents for all the world to see..and we do see it..thats Israels problem.

10 ) Israeli1 / Israel
04/07/2013 20:20
No other nation even has a law allowing a person to be arrested for an alleged crime committed outside the jurisdiction of the local courts. Any UK attempt to enforce this law is no more than kidnapping.

11 ) Carlos / usa
04/07/2013 22:10
I complained to British embassy they are giving immunity to war criminals. I hope they will start to realize what a sleazy government they have. The rockets from Gaza are retaliation for israel murdering civilians with israeli f16 and indiscriminate killing of civilians. israel is terror.

12 ) Tom / USA
04/07/2013 22:42
It's like an AC/DC tune, "Who Made Who." The UK created the beast, and now they are tributary to it. Long Live The Zionist Empire! Like that'll happen.

13 ) gabi / australia
05/07/2013 03:45
# 4 - if Israelis don't like Gazans lopping missile (aka flying stovepipes) at them, then stop the occupation. Why they cannot understand this concept is a mystery. Oh, yeah, I forgot - Israel claims it "returned" Gaza - and the slow garrotting of the Gazans is an act of self-defense??? And that's why they keep invading Gaza and killing Gazans and destroying the farms and their means to provide food for themselves and their families. "Defensive" incursions, breaching the fence? Don't think so

14 ) Outlier / USA
05/07/2013 04:14
8, Sorry Zainab, but cowardice does not provide safety.

15 ) Zainab / UK
05/07/2013 14:15
@14- Outlier: There is no need to be sorry, however within the context of the Israel/US/UK alliance, cowardice is not the issue here, the issue is the morality of their policies. I agree that cowardice (in itself) does not bring security (safety), which is why people all over the world speak out against (perceived) injustice, fight & in many cases die, for what they believe to be right! At the end we will all be judged by our actions & intentions. You & I have the luxury to disagree, many don't.

16 ) Outlier / USA
05/07/2013 23:26
13., Gabi, Israel DID leave Gaza. Jihadist missiles are the "thanks" it got and strict border controls are the consequence of those missiles. If Gazans need to blame someone for the situation, it is Hamas and the Jihadists. 15., Zainab, belief in a cause does not MAKE the cause right. However, I agree we are among the fortunate in having the luxury to disagree.
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