by David Frum
Israeli politicians and soldiers have repeatedly been threatened with arrest in the United Kingdom in recent years because pro-Palestinian activists have exploited a law allowing foreign visitors to be detained for alleged human rights violations anywhere in the world. As I discuss in my column at The Week, a law which has strained Anglo-Israeli relations — and embarrassed successive British governments — finally seems likely to be amended.
Doron Almog is a true hero of democracy and human rights. In 1976, Almog parachuted onto the runway at Uganda’s Entebbe airport, marking the way for the Israeli commandos who rescued 256 hostages aboard a hijacked Air France jetliner. During the operation he led the assault on the airfield's control tower.
Almog officered the airlift that rescued 6,000 Falasha Jews from Ethiopia in the 1980s. As head of Israel’s southern command from 2000-2003, he defeated every attempt by terrorists to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. Almog lost five members of his family to a suicide bomber in Haifa in 2003. After the death of his own mentally handicapped son, he founded a charity to provide services to the severely disabled in southern Israel.
In the fall of 2005, Almog visited the United Kingdom on a fundraising mission for his charity. On landing, he was informed that British police officers were waiting to arrest him. A pro-Palestinian British lawyer had sworn out a complaint against Almog for his anti-terrorist work on the southern front. Under British law, any foreign visitor to Britain can be accused of human rights violations by any private person in Britain, and brought before a British court to answer for actions anywhere on earth.
Almog remained on the plane and returned to Israel without disembarking. He was the first Israeli to be attacked in British court in this way, but not the last. In the years since 2005, pro-Palestinian activists have repeatedly attempted to use British law as a weapon against Israelis, most recently against former foreign minister Tzipi Livni in December, 2009.
Read the rest of Dave's column HERE
David Frum is editor of FrumForum
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