Israeli vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has canceled a planned trip to Britain over fears of being arrested there, Israeli sources have said.
Ya’alon was invited to London to attend a fund-raising dinner for Benji’s Home, a group home for soldiers with no family in Israel.
The British branch of the Jewish National Fund had invited Ya’alon to attend the dinner.
He had said he would travel to Britain if the Foreign Ministry’s legal department approved it.
According to a report by the Israeli website, Ha’aretz Ya’alon, as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002-2005, is one of several current and former senior officers whom pro-Palestinian groups have sought to bring to trial for the 2002 assassination of senior Hamas member, Salah Shehadeh.
The report added that the attack also killed 14 civilians.
When Ya’alon consulted the Foreign Ministry’s legal team, they warned him that the groups might ask a British court to order his arrest should he visit Britain.
As a result, Ya’alon informed JNF Britain that he would not be able to attend the dinner.
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited London last week, pro-Palestinian groups sought his arrest for alleged war crimes during January’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza. However, the court ultimately decided not to hear the request immediately, enabling Barak to leave the UK.