Skip to main content

UK: Palestinian rights groups call on Met to arrest former Israeli official

Once detained, police should question former Israeli deputy PM Dan Meridor, scheduled to speak at Cambridge University, over suspected international crimes, say groups
Then Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor speaks at a 2011 press conference in Budapest (AFP)
Then Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, speaks at a 2011 press conference in Budapest (AFP)

Two Palestinian rights groups have urged London's Metropolitan police to arrest former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor and question him over suspected international crimes during a scheduled visit to the United Kingdom.

Meridor, a senior Likud politician who has also served as justice minister, is set to speak at Cambridge University on Wednesday as a guest of the Cambridge Union which has been criticised by dozens of campus organisations for inviting him.

In a letter sent to the Met's War Crime Unit on Monday, the UK-based International Centre of Justice for Palestinians and Al-Haq in Ramallah say Meridor, in various leadership roles he has held since the 1980s, has overseen the commission of serious international crimes.

The unit, they say, should investigate Meridor's role in the suspected crimes under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which gives British police the power to examine crimes against international law even if they have not taken place in UK territory.

Dozens of student groups sign letter opposing Israeli speaker at Cambridge Union
Read More »

"We are aware that you already have significant evidence pertaining to Mr Meridor at your disposal. We are willing to supplement this evidence, if required," they wrote. "It is imperative that Mr Meridor does not evade arrest."

The organisations say that the crimes that should be investigated include the massacre of Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut in 1982 and the wilful killing of over 100 Palestinian civilians during the Israeli military's eight-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2012.

Meridor held multiple positions within governments headed by Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. Most recently, he served as Israel's intelligence minister, a post that gave him power over intelligence services active in the occupied West Bank.

In that role, the groups say Meridor had reponsibility over Israeli security agencies which routinely engage in the torture of Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, another crime which they say the police should investigate.

In 2010, Meridor reportedly cancelled an appearance at a Bicom fundraiser held in London over concerns he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.