Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Ann Foley (PR 126)

I am greatly concerned that the question of arrest warrants has been buried amongst various other issues in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. Universal jurisdiction is an extremely important issue which should be considered on its own. I find it outrageous that our government is seeking to do away with it in order to protect Israeli war criminals.

Israel feels free to flout UNSCRs, the Geneva Convention and all the norms of civilised behaviour because it knows it can act with impunity as it has done since its founding. Thanks to the protection offered by US and UK governments and others, Israel has now become a pariah state. It cocks a snook at even its closest allies and financial supporters. A recent example is the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers, and those who choose to replace Palestinians in this way are extremists. Israel is behaving in an ever more brutal way, which many Jews deplore. The plan to allow arrest warrants to be issued only by the DPP, a political appointment, only encourages this brutality and angers many ordinary people like me, never mind what the media chooses to call ‘Islamic extremists’.

Britain has always behaved treacherously and dishonourably towards the Arabs – the Balfour Declaration, the empty promise of independence made to the Arabs if they would aid the fight against the Ottoman Empire, the harsh treatment of the Palestinians in the Mandate days and all the rest of our sorry betrayals. I hope we are not about to add the abolition of universal jurisdiction to this catalogue.

Israel is worried about the next regime in Egypt. If it had been encouraged by western governments, in particular the USA and UK, to behave in a more civilised manner, it would not be so agitated now.

February 2011