A high-ranking official in the Israel Defence Force is the latest army personel to avoid Europe because of a potential court case. Last year former IDF Southern Commander Doron Almog was advised not to deplane at London's Heathrow Airport after Muslim groups filed suit against him for "war crimes" during his stint as head of the IDF Gaza division from 1993-95 and head of the IDF Southern Command starting in 2000.
Now we have the case of Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi's decision to cancel a study sabbatical in London for fear of being indicted for "war crimes".
There is an opinion expressed in that article which says that Israel should face any potential court case against Israeli officials. Andrew Friedman argues it would be a great Public Relations coup if an Israeli official faced charges and won in a neutral court.
The problem I have with this position is; what happens if he loses? Friedman is pretty confident that the facts will speak for themselves and Israel will claim the upper hand in the PR war as a result. I am not so confident the Israeli official would win.
We live in a crazy world where a 'neutral' international court exacted a ruling on Israel's security barrier without paying any attention to why it was built or Israel's security grievances. UN rulings would have to be taken into account in any court and we know at what disadvantage Israel is when it comes to the UN.
This does not even speak of the fact that a person who served his country could potentially sit in prison if criminal charges are proven and owe a lot of money if they are civil charges. These people have risked life and limb for their country, do they want to be enjoying their post-army life in prison or in massive debt?
The court of public opinion continually rules aginst Israel no matter what Israel does, I am not so confident a real court would rule differently.