Israeli lawmaker calls for arrest of US war criminals

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 |  Ryan Jones  

An Israeli Knesset member on Monday sought to turn the tables on the US (and the wider Western world) by calling for an international investigation into American military activities in Iraq and the arrest of American “war criminals.”

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union Party insisted that the US military documents recently leaked by the website WikiLeaks were grounds for an official probe. Among other things, the documents appeared to reveal that an average of 31 Iraqi civilians have been killed every day since American forces invaded in 2003, and that on numerous occasions American soldiers have tortured, raped and otherwise abused Iraqi nationals.

In remarks echoing the rhetoric of the international community in the aftermath of Israel’s most recent war on Gaza terror, Ben-Ari wrote:

“The latest revelation of US military documents regarding the war in Iraq detailing torture, summary executions, rape, and war crimes by US and US-lead security forces in Iraq, paint a terrifying portrait of US abuse and contempt of international treaties.”

Ben-Ari wryly suggested that the UN appoint Judge Richard Goldstone to head up the investigative committee. Goldstone headed the UN investigation into Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” against Gaza’s Hamas rulers. His findings, based largely on unsubstantiated Palestinian claims, were that Israel had committed widespread war crimes.

Ben-Ari noted that if Goldstone is unavailable, “there are human rights organizations here in Israel that are experts in the investigation and judicious prosecution of war crimes. [I have] no doubt that they too will be ready and eager to be at the United Nations’ service.”

The MK closed his letter by stating that he is “looking forward to your call for an urgent hearing at the UN regarding these latest abuses as well as the insidious attempt by the US government to sweep these crimes under the carpet.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to comment on the stunt, but a source close the Israeli leader told The Jerusalem Post that Ben-Ari’s action was “crazy” and potentially damaging to fragile US-Israel relations.

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