|"Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, addresses a news conference at the European council in Brussels." (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)|
By Leigh Phillips
February 22, 2011
"An Irish journalist has attempted a citizen's arrest of the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, outside a meeting of the EU-Israel Association council in Brussels. 'Mr. Lieberman, this is a citizen's arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid. Please accompany me to the nearest police station,' David Cronin told the Israeli minister as he entered the press room of the European council. Cronin, a freelance journalist who has written for the Economist, the Inter Press Service news agency and the Guardian's Comment is Free, was restrained by security guards and escorted from the building, shouting 'Free Palestine'. It is not the first time Cronin, a member of the Brussels press corps since 1998, has attempted such a manoeuvre. Last March he placed his arm on Tony Blair and announced that the former prime minister was under citizen's arrest for his role in the invasion of Iraq. On that occasion, his press pass was revoked but returned after a warning. The reporter was released without charge after the latest incident. However, Cronin reports that the head of security for the council has informed him that this time the pass will be permanently revoked. 'He told me: "If you come into my house, you have to behave yourself." It's a price I'm willing to pay though. Apartheid -- the domination by one racial group over another -- has been recognised as a crime by the UN since 1973. Israel is an apartheid state, both in the occupied territories and in Israel itself.' ... Yoel Mester, a spokesman for the Israeli mission to the EU, said the ambassador will not be pressing for tighter security for future visits of Israeli dignitaries. 'This was utterly uncivilised, in bad taste. But Israel, like the EU, is very supportive of free speech. It's just a shame that some people take advantage of that freedom sometimes.' [...]"