Thursday, December 17, 2009

The impunity of Israel and its allies will carry a price

Outrage over Tzipi Livni's arrest warrant would be better directed to the suffering of Gaza and the risks of a new eruption

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday 17 December 2009

"When evidence of war crimes is produced, you might expect states that claim to defend the rule of law to want those crimes investigated and the perpetrators held to account. Not a bit of it. The decision by a London judge to issue a warrant for the arrest of Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni over evidence of serious breaches of the laws of war in Gaza has sparked official outrage in Britain.

The court's behaviour was "insufferable", foreign secretary David Miliband declared. The Times called it "repugnant". Gordon Brown yesterday assured Livni that action would be taken to ensure no such thing ever happens again.

As it turned out, Livni had cancelled her visit and the warrant was withdrawn. But for the British government, it seems, it isn't the compendious evidence of war crimes during the Gaza bloodletting – including the killing of civilians waving white flags, the use of human shields and white phosphorus attacks on schools – that is insufferable. It's the attempt to use the principle of universal jurisdiction Britain claims to uphold to bring to book the politicians who ordered the onslaught.....

There is talk of another intifada if the present drift continues. As has been demonstrated this week, Israel is treated with impunity by its western allies, and neither is going to shift course unless the price gets significantly higher. There's no point in western handwringing when the next upheaval comes – or crying foul if it spills over beyond the Middle East."

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