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Ehud Barak to visit Britain

The Middle East Monitor (MEMO) has learnt that the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, will address a Labour Friends of Israel reception at the labour Party conference tomorrow Tuesday 29th September.

Mr Barak's visit comes days after the publication of the Goldstone Commission report into Israel's 2008-2009 military campaign against the Gaza Strip in which 1,417 Palestinians were killed and 5,303 were injured. Operation 'Cast Lead' authorized by Barak claimed the lives of 118 women and injured 825 more. Of the total number of Palestinians who lost their lives, 1,177 (83%) were civilians.

The Goldstone Commission whose membership included the distinguished international law expert Professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics, concluded, "there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."

The release of the Goldstone Commission report this month coincides with the 27th anniversary of the massacre of more than 2,000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. Attempts to prosecute the former Israeli Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, for these crimes in Belgium grounded to a halt in 2003.

Under Articles 146 and 147 of the Geneva Convention, the United Kingdom is obliged to "search for persons alleged to have committed grave breaches, and to bring such persons…before its own courts".

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