London — A court in London issued, and then canceled, an arrest warrant against Israel’s opposition leader at the request of pro-Palestinian activists.
The warrant sought Tzipi Livni’s arrest on suspicion of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last winter, according to diplomatic sources in London.
The warrant was canceled later when it became clear that Livni had not entered the United Kingdom.
Livni had been invited to an event Dec. 13 in north London organized by the Jewish National Fund, then was to hold meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other government officials.
According to the Israeli Embassy in London, Livni had canceled her visit two weeks before the event due to scheduling problems, and not just days before the event because of the threat of a warrant.
A spokesperson at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that “The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East, and to be a strategic partner of Israel. 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.”
In September, a London refused a request by pro-Palestinian activists for an arrest warrant against the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on suspicion of war crimes, citing Barak’s diplomatic immunity. Barak at the time was in Britain on an official visit.