This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe
Reading Daniel Machover’s advice to Foreign Secretary in the Guardian I have to say my first reaction was just who does he think he is to even think of giving such inappropriate unsolicited advice. My second thought was with Israeli Jews like Machover who needs enemies.
He is a London based Israeli lawyer, and head of civil litigation for Hickman & Rose Solicitors, and was the co-founder of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights in 1988. He made quite a name for himself when he previously spearheaded an attempt to have an IDF officer, Doron Almog, arrested in February 2008.
It would seem that whoever persuaded a judge in Westminster to grant a warrant for the arrest of Israel former Foreign Secretary and current leader of the Opposition, Tzipi Livni may have taken a step too far and the resulting sense of outrage felt by all sane and open-minded people will hopefully result in action being taken to ensure this type of charge cannot be levied in such an inappropriate manner.
Imagine Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Miliband or Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth were to be arrested in Israel and charged with war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan!! Make no mistake that this is what could and even should happen if the way Tzipi Livni was treated here in the UK was to be taken to its logical conclusion.
Let’s make one thing quite clear first. There is no way a former Foreign Minister of Israel can be accused of “war crimes” when carrying out their primary duty to defend their country and its citizens.
So let’s look at Daniel Machover’s suggested advice on what David Miliband should be saying to Tzipi Livni. In Jewish parlance there is just one word for it “Chutzpah” meaning outrageous cheek!
In suggesting it would be wrong for David Milliband to apologise to Tzipi Livni, Machover admits that according to British justice people are “presumed innocent unless and until convicted through a fair trial on the criminal standard of proof (that is, beyond reasonable doubt)”. He goes on to admit that Tzipi Livni has not been accused or convicted of committing “war crimes”. He further adds, however that he suspects she was indeed guilty of such “crimes”, yet again admits there is no proper evidence, and no reason to assume that Tzipi Livni could be found guilty in a UK court.
However, he cites Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stating
[W]e are ‘under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed … grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before [our] courts’. The mandatory wording (ie ‘shall’) creates a presumption that it is in the public interest for criminal charges to be brought under our Geneva Conventions Act 1957 if the evidential test is met. [emphasis added]
And what does Daniel Machover choose as evidence to justify this travesty. Nothing less than the discredited Goldstone Report, which on its author’s own admission would not stand up in a court of law, and which he also admits was very largely unsubstantiated. The fact that the Report was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in October and further endorsed at the general assembly in November amounts to nothing given the anti Israel make up of both bodies, and the truly ludicrous situation where countries with appalling Human Rights records sit in judgement.
Machover expresses his great faith in the British judiciary, without taking into account that the Judge who granted the warrant fell far short of the standards of evidence needed when he accepted the hearsay evidence that Tzipi Livni was in the UK without bothering to check the accuracy of the false statement and was forced to hurriedly withdraw the warrant when he found he had been duped by anti-Israel mischief makers.
That is what can truly be called the political embarrassment that Machover referred to. As for his impudent suggestion that David Miliband should tell Tzipi Livni to get Israel to refer itself to the international criminal court, that is even greater “Chutzpah”.
Perhaps the best advice I can have the Chutzpah to give Machover is if he really wants to help the Palestinians as he purports to do, he should direct his energies to advising their leaders to abandon their goal of the destruction of the Jewish state he has turned his back on in such a treacherous way, and to concentrate on positive aspects of building bridges and improving the quality of life of the Palestinian people, enabling them to see the benefits peace can bring.
May I also suggest that if he is sincere in his aim to “search out and prosecute” all those alleged to have committed war crimes, that he builds a dossier of all those Palestinian terrorists who have set out to murder Israelis in their homes, their buses, their pizzerias and cafes and seeks to bring them to justice. Then he might at least restore a little credibilty to his seriously tarnished image.