Sunday Feb. 26, various Israeli media outlets reported that IDF Advocate General (JAG), Brigadier-General Avichai Mandelblitt, has directed Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi not to take up his studies at a UK military academy. Mandelblitt recommends that senior Israeli officers who played an active role in the present intifada should avoid travel to England for fear of possible arrest for war crimes against Palestinian civilians.
Kochavi's decision to cede his place at a prestigious UK military school is undoubtedly a very important "non-event". While the Israeli establishment still denies that Israeli forces commit war crimes, this is definitely an acknowledgement that a new reality now exists. Since the near arrest of Gen. Doron Almog in London last September, and the civil torts served against former Chief of Staff Ya'alon and former Shabak head Dichter in the United States in November, it has become painfully clear that Israeli military personnel are now vulnerable to due legal process abroad. If the Israeli judiciary system continues to ignore human rights violations, Israelis will pay the price in Spain, Norway, England and many other countries. The age of impunity for war crimes is coming to an end.
Yesh Gvul is not happy to see Israeli officers becoming pariahs in the Western world. However we, along with other groups abroad, will continue to strive by all democratic means to defend human rights. Our goal is not to see people in jail, but to create deterrence that will stop the crimes. We hope that the government of Israel will sober up and, instead of trying to get democratic governments to change their laws, it will order our soldiers to respect the basic human rights of the Palestinians.
Peretz Kidron & Ram Rahat
Links to media reports on the Military Advocate General's recommendation:
Link for Ha'aretz's lead article: