Miliband denounces Livni arrest warrant
Netanyahu's office condemns warrant issued against former FM following complaint charging her with 'war crimes' in Gaza. PMO statement says Israel won't abide having IDF personnel being war criminals. UK foreign secretary stresses importance of ties with Israel
"We refuse to see a situation in which (former Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert, (Defense Minister) Ehud Barak, and Tzipi Livni are summunded to trial. We will not agree to have IDF soldiers and commanders, who defended their country and its citizens so bravely and ethically from a nefarious enemy, called war criminals. We reject this absurdity," the statement said.
The Guardian reported Monday that a warrant for Livni's arrest had been issued by a British court, but was rescinded once it was discovered that she was not in the country. The warrant was issued following a complaint that the former foreign minister had been responsible for war crimes during the Israeli operation in Gaza about a year ago.
The PM's Office said Netanyahu's National Security Advisor Uzi Arad made it clear to British Ambassador Tom Phillips that Israel expects the UK to act against this "unethical" phenomenon, which is aimed at "violating Israel's right to defend itself."
Ambassador Phillips was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Tuesday, where Naor Gilon, deputy director for the Foreign Ministry's Western Europe desk, told him that Israeli officials will not be able to visit the UK until the threat of lawsuits and arrest warrants is removed.
Gilon said the issue would "damage the UK's ability to be a partner in any diplomatic processes" and demanded that it be resolved.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that the recent developments in the relations between Israel and Britain were inauspicious, and said that "Britain needs to determine in which direction it is headed".
"We will order our representatives at the European Union to try to change the approach to dealing with terror, the 21st Century's primary danger. We must adapt the laws of the different countries to a new reality," Lieberman said Monday.
Also on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband met with Israel's ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, and said the British government would act with expediency to change the insufferable situation caused by the issuing of a warrant for Livni's arrest.
Miliband stressed the importance of the strategic cooperation between the countries and said he planned to discuss it with Livni as well as his counterpart, Lieberman.
Earlier Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry released a first official response to the reports of an arrest warrant against Livni.
"We reject the court's cynical legal move against Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, which was initiated by radical elements," the statement said.
"Israel would like to note that both Israel and Britain are in the midst of a joint battle against global terror and that British soldiers are working to defeat it in many arenas in the world. Israel calls on the British government to fulfill, once and for all, its promises and prevent an abuse of the British legal system against Israel and its citizens by anti-Israel elements, read the statement.
Hagit Klaiman contributed to the report