Israel Cancels Military Delegation Visit To UK

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ISRAEL cancelled the visit of a military delegation to Britain last week after British authorities could not guarantee that the Israeli occupation army’s officers would not be arrested.

The delegation was made up of five officers who were invited to the UK by the British army.

Israel was rebuffed after its Ministry of Foreign Affairs approached the British government to ensure that the officers, among them a colonel, lieutenant colonel and a major, would be able to stay on British soil without fear of arrest.

The British authorities were unable to make such a promise and therefore the delegation’s visit was cancelled, enraging the Israeli government.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon warned Britain saying ‘should we not get the appropriate securities and if the British law remains unchanged, Israeli officers and seniors will not be able to travel to Britain, which would undermine the good relations between the two countries who share common values and interests. The British must bear in mind that these visits serve both countries.’

British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland is currently visiting Israel and is meeting with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and elements from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the issue.

Israel is demanding a change in UK law tailored to suit the interests of its military and political leaders.

Israeli officials are also warning that British-Israeli relations are ‘being cynically exploited’ by Palestinian elements, and British trade unionists supporting the academic and commercial boycott of Israel.

Tension has been high between the two states since an arrest warrant was issued in the UK against Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni. Following the incident, British authorities stated that a significant change is planned which would require the approval of any arrest warrant for war crimes suspects by the attorney general. Israel is now demanding that the Brown government delivers on its pledge.

Brown spoke to Livni after the incident and told her he strongly opposed the arrest warrant issued against her, and stressed that she was ‘most welcome’ in Britain at any time and that he planned to work to change the current legal situation.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the British government would act with expediency to change the insufferable situation where Israeli officials visiting the UK were subject to its laws.

Israeli officials are facing increasing international legal action over allegations of war crimes committed during last winter’s three-week Israeli offensive on Gaza when hundreds of women and children were among 1,400 Palestinians who were killed in the attack. Thirteen Israelis also died.

After the war, a UN Fact Finding Mission led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone produced a 575-page report claiming Israel had violated the laws of war.

Meanwhile, the Israeli leadership is preparing new criminal wars.

Israeli spy chief Efraim Halevy berated the Palestinian Authority (PA) and President Mahmud Abbas during an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday.

He said that the PA ‘is useless’ and that ‘As soon as the US and Israel stop funding the PA it will fade away. Abbas and his PA should know that and know to behave modestly with their threats against Israel.’

For good measure he added: ‘Abbas is unnecessary and it is time to overthrow him. Israel has to find alternatives.’

The Israeli ruling class is on the brink of new criminal activities.

British trade unions must be 100 per cent in their support of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and with refugees having the right to return.

The trade unions must tell Brown that British law cannot be changed to accommodate the requirements of Israeli war criminals.

The unions must respond with a cultural and commercial boycott of Israel, and keep them clamped on, until the independent Palestinian state is a fact on the ground.