Will UK arrest Elazar Stern?

British NGO urges police to arrest MK Elazar Stern on war crimes charges during London stay.

Chana Roberts,

MK Elazar Stern
MK Elazar Stern
Hezki Baruch

The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain on Tuesday called on British police to arrest former IDF Major General and MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), who is accused of having committed war crimes during his years in the IDF.

In a statement, the organization claimed Stern's unit killed innocent Arab victims and brought "testimonies" from the victims' relatives. They explained Stern is responsible since, as a senior commander, he did not seek to investigate the incidents.

The statement also noted that prosecution of war criminals is allowed under British law regardless of where the crimes were actually committed or the nationality of the suspect, and therefore arresting Stern is legal.

Stern served in the First Lebanon War, during the Second Intifada, and was present in Beirut during the Sabra and Shatila massacre. He also served as Military Academy President and later as Head of Manpower Department, before retiring from the army in 2008.

He is currently visiting London together with a delegation from his party, Yesh Atid. Stern is schedule to speak in several places and is aiming to help fight the BDS propaganda rampant in Europe. These invitations, too, were condemned by the Arab Organization, which claimed it was wrong to invite such a "war criminal" to speak.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government was informed of the situation and Stern was told to keep a low profile and not give any media interviews.

In response to the Arab Organization's statement, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid spoke Wednesday morning with British ambassador in Israel David Quarrey, requesting he work immediately to prevent the arrest of MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid).

"Stern was sent to London to fight BDS, and now those same organizations that spread lies about soldiers and IDF commanders are trying to hurt him," Lapid told Quarrey. "Stern is a respected officer in Israel who contributed much to the security of the country and the education of generations of officers.

"I am sure that the British government will protect Stern and will act according to existing laws."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said, "Israel regrets the cynical attempt to use the British legal system for anti-Israel political goals. We are confident that British authorities will not fall in the trap."

Stern is scheduled to return to Israel on Thursday.


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