Al-Jazeera reports that London judge issues arrest warrant against opposition chairwoman for allegedly committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. Livni's office denies canceling her trip to UK for this reason, say: Opposition chairwoman proud of all her decisions on Cast Lead
An al-Jazeera journalist in London reported that an arrest warrant was issued in a London court against Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni for war crimes she allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead.
A British Jewish community website, JC Online, reported that Livni cancelled her visit scheduled for this weekend out of concerns that pro-Palestinian lawyers would try ask for her arrest.
Earlier Monday, London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi also reported that Livni apparently canceled her planned trip due to international pressure to issue an arrest warrant against her.
On Sunday, dozens of demonstrators protested in front of the building where the convention was to be held. The protesters called Livni a "terrorist" and waived flags condemning her expected visit.
Livni was slated to speak at the Jewish National Fund's Vision 2010 conference held in Hendon, northwest of London. According to the report, Livni was also due to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown for private talks.
Livni's office denied these reports. Her office reported to Ynet: "The invitation to the annual JNF conference was turned down by us two weeks ago because the schedule meetings with the government figures in London could not take place close to the conference and would have necessitated a longer-than-planned absence from Israel."
Livni's office also said, "The opposition chairwoman is proud of all her decisions regarding Operation Cast Lead. The operation achieved its objectives to protect the citizens of Israel and to reinstate Israel's deterrence capability. Livni will continue to present this stance everywhere in the world.
"Hamas is not a dialogue partner, and we must therefore take forceful action against them, while engaging in negotiations with moderate elements. As such, no comparison between IDF soldiers and terrorists can be made. This is Livni's position whether or not an arrest warrant was issued, which is something we are as of yet unaware of."
The Foreign Ministry reported that it did not recommend that Livni cancel a trip to any destination.
Later Monday, officials in the British Ministry of Justice and Foreign Ministry told Israeli ambassador to London Ron Prosor later Monday that they were not aware of an arrest warrant issued against Livni.
Britain most problematic country
Israeli lawyers consider Britain to be the most problematic country in terms of the possibility for the arrest of senior Israeli leaders.
A few months ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Britain, and was faced with accusations by local lawyers of committing war crimes. However, Barak was not detained.
In 2005, Major General (res.) Doron Almog arrived in London, but remained on board his plane and was forced to fly back to Israel in fear he will be arrested. The arrest warrant issued against him was later canceled.
Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon postponed a recent trip to Britian following legal recommendations. Since operation cast lead, legal teams headed by the Attorney General office have been facing an increased number of international legal cases against Israeli officials.
Amnon Meranda and Naama Lanir contributed to this report
By: Ynet - Israeli Newspaper
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