WASHINGTON – Opposition leader Tzipi Livni told CNN on Monday that she would be willing to face arrest to challenge the validity of war crimes charges reportedly filed against her recently in a British court.
"For me, this is not a question," Livni told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, when asked whether she was willing to face arrest. "I mean, yes, the answer is yes. I am."
Last year a UK court issued an arrest warrant for Livni, the chairwoman of the Kadima Party. BBC reported at the time that the warrant was eventually revoked once it was clear that Livni was not in Britain.
"I would like this to be, in a way, maybe even a test case, because I'm willing to speak up and to speak about the military operation in Gaza Strip," Livni told CNN.
Livni had served as Israel's foreign minister during the war against Hamas in Gaza that ended exactly one year ago. The United Nations and some human-rights groups have blamed Israel and the Islamist group for human rights violations during the conflict.
Livni defended the former government's decision to launch a military offensive in the coastal enclave, saying it was a response to years of rocket attacks on south Israel.
"I know that the decisions that we made were crucial to give an answer to Israeli civilians that couldn't live in the south part of Israel and later or even also in different parts of Israel," she told CNN.
"It was part of my responsibility, and this was the right answer. And I'm willing to stand for these reasons and to explain this to -- to the world and to any court."
'Gates are open'
Livni told Amanpour that the IDF had already investigated the conduct of its soldiers, but that she did not necessarily support a public inquiry in Israel, unless it helped Israeli soldiers when they traveled outside Israel.
"Part of our responsibility is also to defend the Israeli soldiers and officials that worked according to our decision in the government. And if an inquiry helps them, this is fine, so I can support an inquiry, as long as this helps them. It's not about me. It's about the Israeli soldiers, because I want them to leave Israel and to feel free to visit different parts of the world according, you know, to -- like any -- like any other citizen of the free world and any other soldier," she told CNN.
Livni also said Israel's blockade of Gaza would continue.
"The blockade on Gaza -- yes. But it's important to say that, when it comes to humanitarian needs, the gates are open," she said during the interview with Amanpour.
Addressing the stalled peace process, Livni said peace negotiations could be concluded successfully in less than two years, adding that time was working against those who support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Kadima leader told CNN that the talks should begin immediately.