LONDON – Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in London on Friday demanding the arrest of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes.
Livni, who has been given special immunity to enable her to address a JNF meeting this week, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the latest developments in the peace process.
Livni is making her first UK visit after threats to have her arrested for alleged war crimes led to a change in British law four years ago.
The British government’s decision to give Livni temporary diplomatic immunity for her visit to London later this week stems from threats made by pro-Palestinian supporters and their allies, shortly after the Gaza war, to have her arrested for alleged war crimes against the Palestinians.
Following Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a British judge in December 2009 accepted claims that there was sufficient evidence to put Livni on trial and from that date she has not set foot in the country.
After a prolonged campaign led by the Israeli government and the UK’s Jewish community, the British government eventually agreed to change the law concerning war crimes to ensure that those serving in government positions or on special diplomatic missions would be exempt from the threat of arrest.
Against that background the JNF-UK invited Livni to address a meeting later this week, and once the British Foreign Office agreed to grant her temporary diplomatic immunity, she decided to pay a visit to London – which will also see her meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague to brief him on the stalled peace talks.
A Foreign Office source confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that Livni has been given “special mission” status to enable her to meet UK ministers for “official discussions,” despite renewed attempts by lawyers acting on behalf of a relative of a Palestinian killed in the Israeli bombing of a police compound in Gaza, in December 2008, to have her arrested.