Friday, December 07, 2007

Avi Dichter stays put in Israel after war crimes arrest threat in London

Whew. A senior Israeli minister declined an invitation to visit Britain because of fears he could have been arrested on war crimes charges arising from the "targeted assassination" of a top Hamas military commander five years ago. It was hardly a surgical strike, because the powerful bomb dropped on his house killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians. A veteran spook, Dichter heeded the intel reports and stayed clear of the counter-terrorism seminar in Londonistan to spend a happy hanukkah at home.

According to Don Macintyre of the Independent,

the Israeli foreign ministry advised Avi Dichter, the Public Security minister, that what it described as an "extreme leftist" group was likely to file a legal complaint about the July 2002 bombing attack in Gaza on Saleh Shehadah which killed at least 13 civilians.

Mr Dichter, who had been due to speak at a seminar in King's College London, was at the time head of the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, which helped to plan the attack. The bombing, which was internationally criticized – including by the US – because of the civilian loss of life, was described after an internal Israeli investigation as a "mistake".

While Mr Dichter is the first minister to have cancelled a trip for such reasons, the official advice to him followed other cases in which senior generals have refrained from visiting Britain because of similar fears of private legal actions leading to the issue of an arrest warrant.

Asked about the Shehadah bombing before he entered politics, Mr Dichter said it had never been intended to kill civilians and insisted that several previous attempts on the life of the Hamas leader were postponed because of intelligence that "he was surrounded by innocent people". In the event the victims included Mr Shehadah's wife and three children.

Dichter, a longtime supporter of assassinating terrorist leaders and erecting the security barrier to stymie suicide bombers, opposed Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan. When he finished his stint as Shabak leader, Dichter was courted by the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington, where he stayed three months, before returning to the Promised Land.

1 comment:

Imshin said...

He should stay home and do his job of doing something about the dire state the police is in. That's his job, not gallivanting round giving talks about intelligence or whatever.

If I hear him one more time on TV talking about the peace process and international affairs...

Of course, making life safer for old ladies who are afraid to go out in Bat Yam because of muggers is far less glamorous, but this is his responsibility, which he is sadly neglecting. Shame on him.