Livni. Canceled trip
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Report: Judge thought Livni was in UK

Guardian reports British court issued arrest warrant against Opposition chair because judge was not informed her trip was canceled; officials warn UK will not be part of peace process if Israeli MKs cannot set foot there

The Guardian reported Monday that a warrant for the arrest of Opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni had been issued by a British court, but was rescinded once it was discovered that she was not in the country.


Livni was scheduled to travel to the UK on Sunday but canceled her trip at the last minute. The Guardian reported that the Westminster magistrates court issued the warrant at the request of pro-Palestinian activists, but it was later withdrawn. 


The attorneys who appealed for the warrant had apparently not been informed of Livni's cancellation. Their clients wanted the former foreign minister arrested for her implication in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.


The British Foreign Office immediately issued an apologetic statement. "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," it said.


Officials in Jerusalem responded by stating, "We appreciate the British government's desire to play a central role in the Middle East peace process, and thus expect it to translate the significance of its relations with Israel into action.


"Only actions can stop this absurd situation which, but for its severity, could have been called a comedy of errors. Without reparation of what has gone wrong, Israeli officials will not be able to enter Britain and this could exclude it from the circle (of countries) involved in the peace process."


The Ministry of Justice, Scotland Yard and clerks at the magistrates court refused to comment on the warrant, and a statement issued by the Court Service denied that it had been issued. Israeli sources also denied the existence of the warrant.


The Guardian quoted Tayab Ali, an attorney who appealed for the arrest of Defense Minister Ehud Barak on behalf of 16 Palestinian clients, as saying that he was "ready, willing and able to act for clients to seek the arrest of anyone suspected of war crimes" who travels to the UK.


"We do not comment on individual cases and have nothing to say about news reports of Israeli suspects who cancel arrangements to come to the UK, which is a matter for them," he added.


Friends of al-Aqsa, a British group supporting the Palestinians, were also quoted in the report. "This is an unprecedented move by a British judge, and when one considers the evidence that has been presented over the past year relating to alleged war crimes in Gaza, it is long overdue. This is the first arrest warrant worldwide in the wake of the Gaza war," the group stated.


פרסום ראשון: 12.14.09, 23:39
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