Monday, December 14, 2009

Livni bridge is falling down? London court issues, then cancels Livni arrest warrant

(JTA) -- A court in London issued, and then canceled, an arrest warrant against Israel's opposition leader at the request of pro-Palestinian activists.

The warrant sought Tzipi Livni's arrest on suspicion of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last winter, according to diplomatic sources in London.

The warrant was canceled later when it became clear that Livni had not entered the United Kingdom.

Livni had been invited to an event Dec. 13 in north London organized by the Jewish National Fund, then was to hold meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other government officials.

Livni herself said in September that she was prepared to stand trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague to defend the actions of the IDF.

"There have already been petitions against me in various countries," Livni said "I was a partner to the decisions in the operation in Gaza. They were right, I believe in the morality of the IDF soldiers, and if they try to indict me, I am prepared to come and say such things if necessary."

According to the Israeli Embassy in London, Livni had canceled her visit two weeks before the event due to scheduling problems, and not just days before the event because of the threat of a warrant.

A spokesperson at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that “The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East, and to be a strategic partner of Israel. To do this, Israel's leaders need to be able to come to the UK for talks with the British Government. We are looking urgently at the implications of this case.”