A criminal lawsuit has been filed against Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Britain, calling for his arrest on suspicion of committing war crimes.
Israeli legal sources expressed their fear recently that a recent United Nations report, which accused the Jewish state and Hamas of committing war crimes during the Israeli operation in Gaza, would prompt lawsuits against senior Israeli officials.
Ynet has learned that Barak, who is scheduled to meet Tuesday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was warned of such a move on Monday evening but failed to leave the UK before the lawsuit was submitted.
Governmental legal sources contacted the defense minister and recommended that he leave Britain immediately in order to avoid a legal entanglement, suggesting that he fly to France. But Barak decided not to change his schedule and to remain in London.
The suit, filed with a London court, claims that Barak was the defense minister in the previous government as well, which was responsible for the IDF operation last December.
The British court is expected to decide Tuesday whether to discuss the claim, which was filed by Attorney Michel Massiah on behalf of Palestinian families hurt during the Gaza war. Officials from the Justice and Foreign ministries are handling the matter in Israel.
The defense minister's office refused to comment on the lawsuit filed against him. On Wednesday, Barak is scheduled to meet with British Foreign Minister David Miliband to discuss political and security issues.