So we’ve all encountered the aged joke of how many (fill in noun of choice) does it take to change a light bulb; but here’s a new one: how many protesters does it take to send an Israeli Colonel scurrying back to Israel from London?
Exactly 80, it seems:
An Israeli colonel involved in Operation Cast Lead returned to Israel in haste on Friday, fearing arrest on charges of war crimes during a visit to the UK.
Col. (res.) Geva Rapp had arrived in London three days before for appearances in which he was to explain Israel’s position and refute media representations of the hostilities.
On Thursday night, after news of his visit reached pro-Palestinian groups, some 80 protesters demonstrated outside the offices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in central London, where Rapp was scheduled to speak.
Calling for police to arrest him, the protesters blocked public pathways, while one scaled the building’s walls. Police made several arrests. [Source]
At the moment a loophole in British law enables private criminal complaints of war crimes to be lodged against military personnel, regardless of their citizenship status.
As a consequence pro-Palestinian groups in Britain have endeavoured to utilize the legal capacity against IDF officers and Israeli leaders.
For their part, Israel is working with Britain to overturn the law.