Peretz evades UK arrest warrant
MK cuts trip short to avoid getting arrested for alleged Lebanon War crimes, sources say
MK Amir Peretz narrowly managed to escape an arrest warrant issued for him in London this past weekend on suspicion of committing war crimes during the Lebanon war Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
The Justice and Foreign ministries were aware of the arrest warrant ahead of time, and advised Peretz, who was in New York last week, to cancel his trip to the UK. They told the MK that the warrant was initiated by “extremist organizations” as a provocation, aiming to manipulate the situation for “anti-Israel incitement.”
The former defense minister refused to cancel his visit, claiming that by doing so he would be admitting defeat, sources said. The Justice Ministry accepted his stance, but was prepared to stand by with a legal team.
Peretz was scheduled to give a speech at a London university, and elements estimated that the anti-Israel activists would ambush him there before police would arrive to arrest him.
Following the defense elements’ advice, Peretz decided to trick the activists; he e-mailed the university administration to inform it that he had to cancel the trip for personal reasons. The plot worked, causing the activists to call off the arrest warrant.
‘I don’t intend to run’
Peretz then traveled to the UK and fulfilled his other engagements, keeping a low profile. He spoke before an Israeli business club, and met with representatives of London’s Jewish community.
But word of Peretz’s trip eventually reached the activists, who renewed the efforts to issue a warrant against him. The defense establishment then advised the MK to push his return up from Sunday to Saturday evening – a move that evidently saved Peretz embarrassment, as the arrest warrant was eventually issued right after his departure.
Peretz refused to comment on the incident, saying only that “I do not intend to run away from anyone.”
“But I also don’t intend to fall into the provocative traps of extremist organizations, whose unrestrained positions that even I, as a man of peace, refuse to accept,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth.
Israeli war crimes suspects flee Britain
Press release, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Israel’s former Defence Minister Amir Peretz is reported to have fled Britain to avoid an arrest warrant in relation to war crimes committed during Israel’s war on Lebanon.
It was also reported that Israel’s Foreign and Defence Ministries were warned of the arrest in enough time to bundle Peretz out of Britain. News of Amir Peretz’ ignominious departure followed the non-appearance of Israeli General (ret) Danny Rothschild at a meeting organised by the Henry Jackson Society in Parliament last night (5 July).
Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, said:
‘Did Amir Peretz and Danny Rothschild both flee the country to avoid arrest warrants? If so, this cowardice stands in sharp contradiction to the stance of Sheikh Raed Salah, who has insisted on staying in this country and going through the correct legal channels. No wonder that the Israeli government have been pressing the British government to change our law on universal jurisdiction, to make it more difficult to bring those suspected of war crimes to justice.
It is deeply damaging to the British Government’s reputation that it has succumbed to this pressure, rather than asserting its obligation to bring war criminals to justice, of whatever nationality. Furthermore, if Israeli authorities were in fact tipped off about an arrest warrant for Amir Peretz, enabling him to avoid justice, this raises even more serious concerns. The British Government stands accused of blatant double-standards by detaining a Palestinian leader, apparently on the basis of smears and allegations, whilst attempting to make it more difficult to bring Israeli war criminals to justice’