Radical statement by Netanyahu?
Below is a translation of the communiqué published by Netanyahu in response to the British warrant for former Foreign Minister Livni’s arrest.
Note what it does not assert: That “IDF commanders and soldiers” operated lawfully during the Gaza war. The statement does assert that the initiation of proceedings is tantamount to condemnation, i.e. Israelis cannot get a fair trial outside the country.
The omission and assertion together comprise a radical statement — Israel has removed itself from the international law system. This might seem trivial because it reflects the de facto situation. It does appear, however, to diverge significantly from much of Israeli messaging to date, which argues that the IDF generally acted legally and that internal investigations have addressed incidents where this is in doubt.
Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser, December 15 2009
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views with utmost gravity the attempt to issue an arrest warrant in Great Britain against Opposition Leader MK Tzipi Livni.
The Prime Minister said this morning (Tuesday), 15.12.09: “We will not agree to a situation in which Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the defendant’s bench. We will not agree that IDF commanders and soldiers, who – heroically and in a moral fashion – defended our citizens against a brutal and criminal enemy, will be condemned as war criminals. We reject this absurdity outright.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed National Security Adviser Prof. Uzi Arad to deliver a clear message on this issue to British Ambassador Tom Phillips.
Accordingly, Dr. Arad spoke with Ambassador Phillips and made it clear to him that the Government of Israel expects the British Government to act against this immoral phenomenon which is trying to impair Israel’s right to self-defense.