Tuesday, October 15

Former Israel Navy chief questioned at London airport and should have been arrested

Haaretz - Israeli embassy says it is looking into the issue. Under 

British law, permission to arrest foreign citizens for war 

crimes is limited. 

The former commander of the Israeli navy, Rear-Admiral 

(ret) Eliezer Marom was detained for questioning 

Monday morning at London's Heathrow Airport 

immediately after landing in the United Kingdom. 

After brief questioning, Marom was released and 

allowed to continue his visit. A spokesman for Israel's 

embassy in London confirmed the details and said "we 

are looking into the issue right now." 

Following initial inquiries, none of the relevant British 

authorities, the Home Office, which is responsible for 

border controls, the London Metropolitan Police and 

the Foreign Office, are aware of Marom having been 

detained or questioned. 

Israel's Foreign Ministry is continuing to look into the 

incident but at this stage, it seems that Marom was 

under the mistaken impression that the routine 

questions he was asked at passport control at Heathrow 

Airport and the slight delay he experienced were 

actually an attempt to detain him over war crimes 


Marom hastened to call the Justice Ministry in 

Jerusalem where a special team of lawyers was on call 

to deal with cases of senior Israeli officials who are 

charged or questioned abroad. A few minutes later it 

transpired there was no intention to detain him, and 

that Marom had nothing to be worried about. By that 

time, however, the story had already been leaked from 

the Justice Ministry to the Ynet website. 

In September 2011, after continuing Israeli pressure, the 

British parliament amended the Universal Jurisdiction 

law which allows the arrest of foreign citizens accused 

of carrying out war crimes. According to the amended 

law, an arrest can only be carried out with the 

authorization of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

Israel's concerns were raised following the 2005 

incident in which Major-General (ret) Doron Almog was 

forced to remain on an El-Al plane in Heathrow for fear 

of being arrested once he stepped off the plane. 

Pro-Palestinian activists had issued an arrest warrant 

against Almog for his involvement in the "targeted 

killing" of Hamas commander Salah Shehadeh in 2002. 

Seven years later, Almog canceled an appearance at a 

fundraising dinner in London scheduled for April at the 

advice of the Israeli government, which once again 

feared Israeli state officials and military officers were at 

risk of being arrested in Britain for alleged war crimes, 

despite the amendment of the Universal Jurisdiction 


Nonetheless, since the amendment, a number of senior 

Israel Defense Forces officers have visited London 

including Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz.

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