Britain Apologizes to Israel After IDF Soldier Detained in UK for “War Crimes”

An Israeli soldier salutes next to an Israeli flag at an IDF gathering point in a field near the Israeli border with Gaza. (Photo: Edi Israel/ Flash90)

An IDF reserve officer who fought in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge was briefly detained recently in England on allegations that he was a war criminal.

Thanks to the quick intervention of the Foreign Ministry and the assistance of the IDF’s international law division, the officer was released from British detention after only a few hours, and British authorities apologized to Israel over the incident.

The officer, who came to England on a business trip and was detained upon landing in the country, is one of potentially thousands of IDF soldiers blacklisted by pro-Palestinian organizations. Any Israeli soldier who fought in the war in Gaza and whose name or photo was posted online could be subject to the same treatment.

Pro-Palestinian organizations have curated lists of IDF soldiers and officers who served during Protective Edge, culling the information from online sources, and submitted them to countries worldwide with the claim that those listed are guilty of war crimes against Palestinians.

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Consequently, said a source speaking from the IDF’s prosecutor’s office, “Every soldier and officer who served in Operation Protective Edge whose name and picture were published in the media [not only] in the standard manner by the army, but also on social networks, is liable to encounter such incidents while abroad”, reported Ynet.

The source added that this includes soldiers who received special commendations from the IDF for their service, and whose names and photos were published by the army in recognition of their excellence. “For the Israeli public, it’s a badge of honor, but for pro-Palestinian organizations it’s the bread and butter of their delegitimization war against Israel,” said the source.

These organizations seek “the persecution of the every last soldier who served in the operation and whose identity was officially released,” the source concluded.

In order to prevent future arrests of Israeli soldiers and officers in foreign countries on the basis of these lists, the IDF and the Foreign Ministry plan to brief soldiers and officers about traveling abroad, in addition to working with foreign governments on resolving the issue.

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Source: Israel in the News