Disinformation and propaganda can take the form of omission just as much as straight forward lies and deception. There is no doubt that that all political parties, one way or another, in the past have been staunch supporters of Israel’s illegal actions over Palestine and its people, more particularly, in the offensive of Gaza starting July 2014. British government complicity that enables impunity of Israeli war criminals also profits from the death, destruction and apartheid regime imposed.
A future Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn would almost certainly reinstate the law on Universal Jurisdiction that was quietly amended by the previous Cameron government in order to facilitate the entry into Britain of Israeli politicians and military personnel without fear of arrest for alleged war crimes.
That contentious action was taken by the then Conservative Foreign Minister, William Hague, in order to accede to the demands of Binyamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel, and against the opposition of UK human rights groups.
The then Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said at the time:
‘We are clear about our international obligations and these new changes to existing law will ensure the balance is struck between ensuring those who are accused of such heinous crimes do not escape justice and that universal jurisdiction cases are only proceeded with on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution. These changes are essential to ensure we do not risk damaging our ability to help in conflict resolution or to pursue a coherent foreign policy.’
In other words, it means the current government can choose what is and what is not a ‘heinous crime’ and what is and what is not ‘solid evidence’. This would likely be changed under Jeremy Corbyn which is why Israel has been vocal in its criticism of the labour leadership frontrunner.
“Any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of a grave breach of any of the scheduled conventions or the first protocol shall be guilty of an offence”
The “scheduled conventions” cover:
(1) the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field / (2) wounded sick & shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea / (3) the treatment of the prisoners of war / (4) the protection of civilian persons in time of war. (The “first protocol” relates to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts).
Under each convention (Geneva Convention Act, Criminal Justice Act and International Criminal Court Act) is an Article (50, 51, 130 & 147 respectively) which sets out the “grave breaches” – acts including:
wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property.
Interestingly almost all of the ‘grave breaches’ stated above have been carried out by Israel either before, during or after the 2014 Gaza offensive
The re-instatement of this important piece of human rights legislation would bring Britain back into line with most of Europe where those alleged guilty of war crimes can be arrested pending trial.
The current suspension of this law in Britain has since enabled various members of the previous and/or present Israel government to visit the UK and to travel freely within the country to raise funds and/or disseminate propaganda to support the policies of Likud Prime Minister, Netanyahu, without fear of apprehension by the authorities.
There is certainly a strong feeling that a reversal of that erroneous policy is now well overdue in order to maintain Britain’s obligations to respect human rights and the International Court.
Sources of information of listed ‘grave breaches’ of the conventions constituting war crimes: