It is reported that Israeli occupation forces (so-called Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers from Europeans, US and other nationalities might be returning back to their countries after taking part in the Gaza War and might have committed war crimes. It is responsibility of the countries to make sure to prosecute their citizens who were involved in war crimes under international law and conventions.
“As Israel’s anti-terror operation entered its twelfth day yesterday, a British IDF soldier who was injured by gunfire in Gaza spoke exclusively to the Jewish News from his hospital bed about his efforts to avoid civilian casualties while the bloody battles are being fought. Avi Cohen was shot by a Hamas terrorist early on Monday morning, two days after he led his paratrooper unit of 20 soldiers into battle. The 23-year-old – whose grandfather was the late Rabbi Cyril Shine of the Central Synagogue, Great Portland Street (London) – said he had been in fierce gun fights with
Hamas throughout the days he was in the Gaza Strip, and at all times did his best to make sure it was the terrorists and not local people who got hurt. “But unfortunately it’s a war and there are casualties on both sides. It is very hard; we didn’t come here for that,” Cohen said reported `Jewish News’ 8th January 2009. Earlier a British born Major of the IDF was killed in Lebanon war with Hezbollah in 2006.
It is illegal under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 (c.90) for a British Citizen to serve in the armed forces of another country
British Member of House of Lords, Lord Ahmed asked a question in the upper house of the parliament on 26th January 2009,”Whether any British citizens are serving in the Israeli Defence Force or the Israeli Defence Reserves”?
In response to that Lord Malloch – Brown, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office responded, “other than press reports, the UK Government do not possess information about whom the Israeli Government have called up to serve in the Israel Defence Forces or the Israeli Defence Reserves, including any dual nationals. Only the Israeli Government would have this information. He further stated, “Anybody who has broken the fourth protocol of the Geneva Convention deserves to meet justice in some court or another”.
“At purpose-built barracks in the Negev desert, every summer hundreds of Jewish teenagers from Europe, Mexico and America pay to spend nine weeks saluting, marching, firing guns and otherwise pretending to be soldiers. Marva, run by the Educational and Youth Corps of the Israel Defence Force and conducted entirely in Hebrew, simulates the basic training of Israeli conscripts for 18-28 year old members of the Diaspora. Dressed in boots and olive fatigues, and obliged to carry an M16 assault rifle at all times, school leavers on gap years do push ups in the dust, perform night marches with laden stretchers, maintain civil defence shelters, fire machine guns at paper figures and simulate military manoeuvres, as well as taking classes in Jewish identity and the history and values of the IDF. Karaoke and dance-offs also feature. With the security situation improving, increasing numbers of British Jews, through youth groups such as RSY Netzer and Federation of Zionist Youth, are signing up to one of the four 120-strong sessions held every year. One half are girls, and large numbers come from public schools in Manchester and North London”, wrote Mathew Holehouse in New Statesman titled “The British children who train to fight in Israel “, published 3rd September 2007.
On Sunday 19th August 2007, in heaven and earth morning Show BBC followed the journey of a young British Jewish couple to Israel and Occupied Jerusalem. The young orthodox Jewish couple with a young daughter moved out of Britain because they said we faced discrimination and anti-Semitism in the British society. They were granted Israeli citizenship upon arrival as part of Jewish right of return and a nice flat with windows over looking `Al-Aqsa Mosque’ and veiling wall. Some of these immigrants will join Israeli Defence Forces.
More than 14,000 American Jews from across the religious spectrum serving in the Jewish state’s military. According to Israeli government statistics, 4,419 are on active duty and 9,831 are in the reserves. There is no exact figure available of British Citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Forces but they are in thousands because over 30000 British Jews have moved to Israel .
Some of them must be killing and shooting Palestinians in Occupied Territories ? Are they terrorist authorised and trained by a state? A London based Jewish paper published photo on front page of a Jewish British citizen Major of Israeli Armed Forces who was killed in action fighting against Hizbullah last year in Lebanon . How bizarre is that?
What if British or US citizen Pakistanis of Kashmiri origin go and fight against occupying Indian forces in Jamu and Kashmir ? What if British or US citizen Palestinians and Arabs go and fight with Israeli occupying forces? Would they be called terrorist? Would they become terrorist or freedom fighters participating in a legitimate freedom struggle recognised by the United Nation?
Only Jews from US, Britain , Canada and around the world have this privilege of joining Israeli Armed Forces, bombing, shooting and killing innocent Palestinians in Occupied Territories and returning back to their countries with clean slate, or voting by post in the US elections? There is no shortage of ex-mossad agent/trained bodyguards to hire if you are rich in London .
It is illegal under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 (c.90) for a British Citizen to serve in the armed forces of another country because:
“If any person, without the license of Her Majesty, being a British subject, within or without Her Majesty’s dominions, accepts or agrees to accept any commission or engagement in the military or naval service of any foreign state at war with any foreign state at peace with Her Majesty, and in this Act referred to as a friendly state, or whether a British subject or not within Her Majesty’s dominions, induces any other person to accept or agree to accept any commission or engagement in the military or naval service of any such foreign state as aforesaid,— He shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall be punishable by fine and imprisonment, or either of such punishments, at the discretion of the court before which the offender is convicted; . . .”
(Annotations: Amendments (Textual) Words omitted by virtue of (E.W.) Criminal Justice Act 1948 (c. 58), s. 1(2) and (S.) Criminal Procedure ( Scotland ) Act 1975 (c. 21), s. 221(2))
Millions of displaced Palestinians whose lands and houses have been taken by the Israelis cannot return to their own homes. Theses actions of Israel are racist and discriminatory and violate the fundamental human rights of Palestinians according to UN declaration of Human Rights. British Jews and pro Israel elements are enjoying power and influence in the United Kingdom . They have blend in the British society and their visibility is not as obvious as other communities and religious minorities living in the United Kingdom .
“£40 million has been given to build a Jewish School (Jewish Madrassa) in Barnet, North London , despite local opposition”, according to London Evening Standard published 10th August 2007. Residents in Barnet objected to the Jewish Community Secondary School because of the impact of its proposed access drive on traffic and environment’. The school will be built on the site of existing East Barnet Upper School .
Around two hundred British orthodox Jews immigrated to Israel with the help of US based charity Nefesh B’Nefesh, last year. Around 30,000 British Jews have permanently moved to Israel as part of Jewish right of return. The US based charity-hired planes for the families moving to Israel . They were warmly welcomed at the airport.
Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, founder, executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, after receiving his rabbinic ordination and degrees in biology and education from Yeshiva University , moved to Florida as a Judaic fellow in the Judaic Fellows Program. Nefesh B’Nefesh is a foundation whose sole mission is to revitalize immigration to Israel by eliminating the obstacles that prevent and hinder those who dream and will to move to Israel .
The first flight to Israel arrived on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 and brought 220 new immigrants from North America . The oldest immigrant is 86 and the youngest is 11 months old. The new immigrants to Israel came from US States of Arizona, California , Colorado , Connecticut , District of Columbia , Florida , Georgia , Illinois , Maryland , Massachusetts , Missouri , New Jersey , New York , Ohio , Pennsylvania , South Carolina , Texas , Virginia and Washington . The new immigrants will be moving to 33 cities throughout Israel , including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem , Haifa and Ra’anana known for their large Anglo populations.
Over the course of this summer, more than 2,200 North American and British Jews are expected to immigrate to Israel through Nefesh B’Nefesh, on seven specially chartered planes and eight Aliyah group flights.
Among the thousands of new summer immigrants making Aliyah to Israel will be three pulpit Rabbis (Orthodox, Conservative and Reform), 28 family members including three siblings and their cousins; 8 new Israel Defence Forces soldiers and a 3-generation family. Over the past five years, the number of Jews from the US and Canada has increased by about 80 percent. According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, over 3,500 people will make aliyah from North America during the summer of 2007.
The Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency for Israel is anticipating that immigration to Israel from North America will increase between 5 and 10 percent this year, marking the highest year for aliyah from North America in 25 years. In 2006, 3,200 residents of the US and Canada formally became Israeli citizens, the highest figure since 1983.
In 2006, NBN extended its Aliyah expertise and success experience in initial efforts to assist in boosting aliyah from the United Kingdom . Upon arrival, many of the new immigrants from the US , Canada and England to Israel will be encouraged to join on-line Anglo support groups.
Should US citizens living in Israel vote in American elections? A simple survey conducted by a recent Israeli immigrant resulted in 79 participants. The results revealed that 73% think that Americans living in Israel should still vote, while 26% said NO, and 1% said it depends. According to the results, there seems to be a misunderstanding about voting rights of Americans.
A former British commander of UN forces Col Bob Stewart said in a TV debate something like, `those in the Israeli Army who deliberately fired (bombed), (Phosphorus) at civilians might have committed war crimes and if they did son they are not soldiers but terrorists
( Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior award wining writer on security, foreign policy, and terrorism based in London)