Former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni in Brussels – Judicial arrest

Press release – 19.1.2017 - Belgo-Palestinian Association

This Monday, January 23rd, 2017, Mrs. Tzipi LIVNI, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, comes to Brussels to participate in a conference in the European Parliament. She was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the Israeli military operation « Cast Lead » in the Gaza Strip between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.

On 23 June 2010 a group of victims filed a complaint in Belgium with the Federal Prosecutor against certain Israeli civilian and military officials at the time, including Mrs Tzipi LIVNI, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Gaza Strip.

The complainants asked the Federal Prosecutor this week for the arrest of Mrs. Tzipi LIVNI when she steps off the plane on her arrival in Belgium on 23 January.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Mrs Tzipi LIVNI would be intercepted by the Federal Judicial Police during her stay in Belgium to be heard and questionned following the complaint lodged against her and that it would ensure the necessary follow-up to this case.

As a reminder, during the three weeks of the military operation « Cast Lead », 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped from the air on the residential districts in the Gaza Strip and tens of thousands of artillery shells were fired by tanks, destroying thousands of houses, but also hospitals, schools and mosques. The statistics compiled by various NGOs – and taken up by the United Nations – estimate the number of Palestinian victims between 1387 and 1434, including 960 civilians, more than 410 children and about 100 women. The number of injured persons is estimated at 5303, many of whom will remain disabled for the rest of their lives. In addition to the deliberate nature of certain attacks on civilians, Israeli troops have also used weapons whose use or conditions of use are condemned by international law, such as white phosphorus.

The Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, commissioned and endorsed by the United Nations, better known as the « Goldstone Report », stated: To investigate and, where necessary, prosecute those suspected of serious violations in order to ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian law and to prevent the creation of a climate of impunity . States have the duty under international law to investigate allegations of violations. « 

The final decision to launch Operation Cast Lead was made on Friday morning, 26 December 2008, at a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Security Shin Bet / Shabak Yuval Diskin and Chief of Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin. Several hours later, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni for a final meeting, during which the trio gave its orders to the air forces to launch the  » offensive.

During Operation Cast Lead, the statements of some political representatives or spokespeople of the army are distrubing and overwhelming. In this regard, the Goldstone Report states: The Mission also noted with concern the public statements made by representatives of Israel, including senior military officials, that attacks on the civilian population and the destruction of civilian property are legitimate means to achieve the military and political objectives of Israel. The Mission considers that such remarks, in addition to undermining the whole regime of international law, are incompatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and therefore deserve to be formally denounced.

Tzipi Livni, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, is under this title responsible for the decisions taken during the « Operation Cast Lead » at the same level of responsiblity as Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, declared « We will have no pity ». This expression, used in such a context, constitutes, by itself, a war crime, in accordance with Article 136quater, § 1, 28 ° of the Belgian Penal Code.

Tzipi Livni also declared, on 19 January 2009, in an interview on Channel 10 News: « Israel demonstrated real hooliganism in the course of the recent operation, which I demanded ».

The disproportionate use of force is therefore undoubtedly a doctrine planned and endorsed by the Israel Defense Forces. The responsibility of the alleged perpetrators identified in the complaint must be scrutinized in view of this admission.

On March 10th 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone report. The resolution calls on Member States and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs to publicly request the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone report and « the establishment of responsibilities for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes « . Finally, the resolution calls on the EU states to adopt a « firm common position » on the follow-up to the Goldstone report and also calls for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted, calling it « contrary to international humanitarian law ».

It is precisely during her visit to the European Parliament that Mrs Tzipi LIVNI will be arrested by the Federal Judicial Police on Monday January 23rd 2017.

Press contacts:

For French

Pierre Galand, President of the Belgian-Palestinian Association (ABP), President of the World Organization Against Torture – Europe, General coordinator of Russell Tribunal on Palestine ,former Senator

Tel: 00 32 475 55 87 54

For English

Frank Barat, coordinator of Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Tel : 0032 487 15 20 06

For Dutch

Ludo De Brabander : 0473 51 64 62

For Arabic

Mohamad Raja’i Barakat : 0476 30 74 51