Israel-Britain strategic talks back on

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010
Dan Meridor

Dan Meridor

Security and defence talks between the Israeli and British government will now take place in Israel amidst fears that Knesset members could be prosecuted under universal jurisdiction legislation if they visit Britain.

As the JC reported earlier this week, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, cancelled a speech at the Bicom dinner in London just hours before the event.

Mr Meridor was concerned that a warrant for his arrest for war crimes could be issued if he entered Britain – the same reason that former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni cancelled an appearance in Britain in December 2009.

In the wake of his cancellation the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that the strategic dialogue talks would be postponed.

The statement was embarrassing for Britain as it coincided with Foreign Secretary William Hague’s first official trip to Israel.

Since coming to power in May the coalition government has repeatedly promised to alter the existing law on universal jurisdiction, but the changes have not yet been made.

After Mr Meridor pulled out of his visit, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said: “As long as the problem exists, it will harm relations between the two countries."

Last updated: 5:37pm, November 4 2010