Israeli war crimes fugitive receives German peace prize

Woman speaks into microphone

Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has evaded arrest or questioning in the UK, Belgium and Switzerland over her role in war crimes in Gaza. (Brookings Institution)

Human rights defenders are urging Germany’s Brückepreis to withdraw their 2020 award from Tzipi Livni, an Israeli politician who has bragged about her role in war crimes against Palestinians.

The citation for the Bridge Prize, as it is known in English, says that Livni is being honored for promoting “free thinking, democracy, openness and humanity” and for “her freedom-oriented peace policy.”

The prize is given to individuals who have dedicated their life’s work to democracy and peaceful understanding among peoples and comes with a cash award of $2,800.

But far from promoting peace, Livni is accused of involvement in “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the blockaded Gaza Strip” when she was Israel’s foreign minister during its 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, the human rights group Euro-Med Monitor wrote in a letter to Brückepreis president Willi Xylander on Tuesday.

Livni “worked relentlessly during the internationally condemned operation to whitewash Israel’s assault on Gaza’s civilian population,” the letter adds, noting that the Israeli attack took 1,400 Palestinian lives, the vast majority civilians.

“Real hooliganism”

Nor has Livni been shy about her role in and support for the Gaza massacre.

She told Israeli media in January 2009: “Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded.”

The Goldstone Report, the independent UN-commissioned inquiry into the assault, also quotes Livni stating: “Israel is not a country upon which you fire missiles and it does not respond. It is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”

And instead of promoting democracy, Livni has supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian citizens of Israel in order to make Israel’s population more purely Jewish.

A former justice minister, Livni also told Palestinian negotiators, “I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general.”

That is hardly the record of someone who deserves recognition for contributing to international peace and understanding.

Pursued for war crimes

On several occasions, Livni has had to evade arrest or questioning by judicial authorities seeking to investigate her for war crimes, in the UK, Switzerland and Belgium.

Giving the Brückepreis to an Israeli politician accused of war crimes would “contribute to whitewashing the crimes of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians” and could “further incentivize Israeli politicians to escalate atrocities against Palestinians when knowing that such brutalities wouldn’t affect their international standing,” Euro-Med Monitor adds.

Yet in Germany, sadly, elites continue to believe that providing unconditional support for Israel no matter what crimes it commits and fawning praise for Israeli war criminals, are forms of atonement for the German government’s murder of millions of European Jews.

The real lesson from Germany’s crimes ought to be that no one should escape accountability for war crimes, and that includes Tzipi Livni.




Tziporah Malka Livni is the daughter of Yeruhan Eitan Livni, a leading field commander of Irgun Zvai Leumi and later a Herut member in the Knesset.
Generally unknown to the public is her career in the Mossad from 1980 to 1984 during which time she was assigned to run the Mossad safe house in Paris (she speaks French), s he was then a member of the elite unit"Operation Wrath of God" , a covert group who assassinated Palestinian activists and Arab nuclear scientists abroad. She is believed by French Intelligence to have been involved inter alia in the murders in Paris of Egyptian scientist Yahya el-Mashad ad Iraqi scientist Abdel-Razak.


Livni's father was an Irgun commander. He was arrested on 4th April 1946 for his role in the Night of the Trains sabotage in which 2 British and 4 Arabs died. Sentenced to 15 years he escaped in the famous Irgun prison breakout. Livni followed in her dad's grisly footsteps by working for Mossad in her twenties. She is quite right that Israel went wild in the Cast Lead operation. It was an act of barbarity and partly, of course, punishment for the January 2006 election won by Hamas. Democracy is not supposed to produce the wrong result. Not only did the Palestinians have to be punished for assuming that democracy meant they could vote for who they liked ( just like British Labour voters who were told they would be anti-Semites if they voted for Corbyn-10.2 million did anyway)they had to be chastened for anticipating the US/Israel coup to bring about regime change and stopping it by Hamas taking over Gaza. Of course, the immediate cause of Cast Lead was the Israeli attack on Gaza of 4th November 2008 (the day of the US election, surprise, surprise). When the Palestinians responded, that was the green light for Israel to go wild, as it always does. Don't forget though that in January 2008 a ceasefire was offered by the Palestinians and rejected by the Israelis, as usual. Livni is absolutely right: Israel is a wild country which responds with unhinged violence to any perceived provocation, refuses peace offer after peace offer and glories in conflict and killing. It is a country founded on the terrorism her father practised. After she cancelled a visit to the UK in 2009 to avoid arrest, Milliband,(Foreign Sec) apologised, as did PM Brown. Did you hear them apologise to the Palestinians slaughtered by Israeli madness? Livni has been welcomed by leading western politicians. Now a body which promotes international understanding in Europe awards her a gong. Such is the corruption of the international order: it supports regimes that go wild and punishes peacemakers.


Well said! So, who would have been “arresting her in the UK”? Reps from the ICC?


@ "Livni also told Palestinian negotiators, 'I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general.'"

She should be asked to expand on what she prefers to law:

"The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal, not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. . . . I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain-sailing, I can't navigate, I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh there I'm a forester. . . . What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? . . . And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - Man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down . . . d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow the[n]? . . . Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake."

R. Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, Act I, pg. 147 (Three Plays, Heinemann ed. 1967), as quoted in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 195-196 (1978).


Please do not give this prize to a war criminal. She does not deserve it, and it will NOT be good for Germany's reputation. Given its role in WWII, what is written above is correct, i.e., that giving her this award is a "corruption of the international order: it supports regimes that go wild and punishes peacemakers".