A recent arrest warrant issued against former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Britain has provoked anger among the Israeli officials who warn UK of strained relations.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday, harshly condemning “the court’s cynical legal move against Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, which was initiated by radical elements.”
Reports revealed on Monday that Livni has canceled her participation in a Jewish meeting in London after a British count issued a warrant for her arrest over war crimes against the Palestinians during Israel’s December 2007-January 2008 offensive which left over 1,350 Palestinians dead in the Gaza Strip.
“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,” the statement said.
“The lack of determined and immediate action to correct this distortion harms the relations between the two countries.”
“If Israeli leaders cannot visit Britain in a dignified manner, it will naturally be a real obstacle to Britain’s desire to have an active role in the peace process in the Middle East,” the statement added.
Based on a report published by The Guardian, Westminster magistrates’ court issued the warrant at the request of the lawyers acting for some of the Palestinian victims of Operation Cast Lead but dropped it once it was discovered that Livni was not in the country.
The UK Foreign Office later issued an apologetic statement, which said, “The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East and to be a strategic partner of Israel,” according to the paper.
“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,” the statement added.
Britain has formerly deferred until further notice an appeal by local pro-Palestinian groups to issue an arrest warrant against Defense Minister Ehud Barak.