Thursday, 6 December 2007

Some are more welcome than others

Last month I wrote that the Stop the War Coalition had invited Ibrahim Moussawi, chief foreign news editor for Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station, to speak at its rather misnamed (considering that the representative of a genocidal terrorist organisation was among the speakers) "World Against War Conference". Despite Tory calls for the government to prevent Moussawi from entering Britain, he attended the conference, which was held last Saturday. Admittedly, his speech was rather more restrained than that given by George Galloway, who proclaimed Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah the rightful president of Lebanon, but nonetheless his presence shames both the Stop the War Coalition, who invited him, and the government, which, unlike its Irish counterpart, did nothing to prevent the entry of this terrorist propagandist into Britain.

But that's not all. Because, while Moussawi is free to enter Britain, and speak to a bunch of terrorist supporters and delusional liberals, the Israeli public security minister, Avi Dichter, has had to decline an invitation to give the keynote speech at a counter-terrorism seminar held at King's College London, for fear that if he set foot in this country, he would be arrested. This is because in 2005 Israeli "human rights activists" persuaded a British court to grant an arrest warrant against Mr Dichter, in relation to the assassination in 2002 of a Hamas terrorist by the Israeli Air Force, in which a number of Palestinian civilians were killed. As the then head of Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, Mr Dichter had played a part in planning the operation.
English courts have jurisdiction to try suspected "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention, under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. While Mr Dichter would normally enjoy diplomatic immunity, he has been told that this would not apply in this case, since his visit to Britain would be in a personal, rather than a diplomatic capacity. The British government has reportedly promised the Israeli government that the law will be altered to ensure that Israeli officials can come to Britain without the threat of arrest hanging over them, and it is to be hoped that it will do so swiftly. But until it does, we have in this country an intolerable situation whereby Hezbollah propagandists can come and go as they please, but government ministers in the Middle East's only democracy cannot.

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