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IDF officers targeted again for arrest

Published in The Jerusalem Post

In what was the third time in the past eight months that a senior IDF officer was subjected to accusations of war crimes and the possibility of arrest in a foreign country, a recent petition by Arab and Jewish left-wing organizations to the Canadian government demanded them to arrest former IDF chief of general staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon.

Ya’alon who was expected to arrive in Canada on Wednesday, decided not to cancel his visit after consulting Israel’s Ambassador in Ottawa.

The organizations claimed the Ya’alon was responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Army Radio reported that, unlike in Europe, Canada requires the justice minister’s approval in order to arrest someone on those charges.

In February, Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, commander of the Gaza Division, decided to cancel plans to study at the prestigious Royal College of Defense Studies in England over the summer out of fear he would be arrested and tried for war crimes.

IDF Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avi Mandelblit warned Kochavi that while a warrant had yet to be issued against him, he could be arrested for his actions during the Intifada and Israel’s hands would be tied in helping him.

Mandelblit based his recommendation on the near-arrest, half-a-year prior to the Kochavi case, of former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, who landed in London but refrained from disembarking after he was warned that detectives were waiting to take him into custody on suspicion of war crimes.

The warrant, which had been issued per the request of a pro-Palestinian Muslim group, accused Almog of illegally ordering the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafah in 2002.

“We shouldn’t take any chances,” a senior officer was quoted as saying. “If an IDF officer is arrested in one of these countries he could be charged and put on trial and our hands will be tied.