Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eli Marom, who served as the commander of the Israeli Navy during Operation Cast Lead and during the raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel, was held for questioning at around noon Monday at London's Heathrow Airport upon his arrival in Britain, Ynet has learned.
Marom was held for a short time, during which he phoned the Justice Ministry in Israel.
The threat of being arrested in Europe has concerned senior Israeli military officers and politicians for a number of years now in light of lawsuits filed by pro-Palestinian organizations, although in most cases, at least in Britain, the measures taken against Israeli officials have been largely symbolic.
This threat appeared to have been reduced in 2011 when the UK amended its universal jurisdiction law, which allows private citizens to obtain arrest warrants for war crimes against foreigners visiting Britain. The law was amended to require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions in case a warrant was issued.
The amendment made it possible for Tzipi Livni to visit London that same year despite an arrest warrant issued against her for her role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Livni served as foreign minister during the military operation in the Hamas -ruled territory.
In 2005, as he was landing in Britain for fundraising purposes, former IDF Central Command Chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog was informed by the Israeli ambassador in London about an arrest warrant against for alleged "war crimes" committed under his command in the Gaza Strip. Almog remained on the plane and flew back to Israel.
In another incident, Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who in the past held command of the Gaza Division, was forced to avoid entering Britain and cancel his planned studies in the UK.
In May 2011, an additional incident occurred when the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's military secretary, Brig.-Gen. Yochanan Locker opted out of joining Netanyahu on a state visit to Britain – also because of his involvement in Operation Cast Lead , when he served as the head of the IAF's General Staff.
Former IDF Spokesperson Avi Benayahu revealed he had recently flown to Britain using a fake identity in wake of the de-legitimization campaign being waged against Israel.