A judge has rejected a Palestinian group’s application to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who is in the UK this week.
Deputy District Judge Daphne Wickham at Westminster Magistrates Court said: “I am satisfied that under customary international law, Mr Barak has immunity from prosecution as he would not be able to perform his functions efficiently if he were the subject of criminal proceedings in this jurisdiction.”
Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak will meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the Labour Party conference in Brighton to discuss the growing nuclear threat from Iran.
But Mr Barak's visit may be hampered by a Palestinian group who have sought to obtain an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes committed by Mr Barak.
The group, represented by solicitors Irvine Thanvi Nataz, submitted the request to Westminster Magistrates, seeking the arrest under the International Criminal Court Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice Act.
The Charedi community has scored a victory in the latest round of its conflict with secular residents over the future of the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem. Last week a Charedi group won a tender for a large housing project expected to further consolidate the growing ultra-Orthodox presence in the area.
The rapid influx of Charedim into the neighbourhood is being met with unusually vocal opposition from secularists, and the area has come to symbolise the larger battle over the character of Israel’s capital.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will speak at the Labour Party Conference next week.
He will be addressing the Labour Friends of Israel at their annual reception on Tuesday afternoon.
The presence of Mr Barak, who is also Israel’s deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, is certain to be controversial given the hostility of many Labour Party members to Israel, and his role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.
The Simpsons are going to Israel, and their tour guide will be Bruno and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen.
The episode, called The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed , is scheduled to air in 2010 and will feature the famous yellow family on a guided tour of Israel with an angry Israeli tour guide, voiced by Mr Baron Cohen.
Homer Simpson will develop Jerusalem Syndrome – where sufferers experience obsessive religious fantasies – and become convinced he is the new messiah, dragging Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson to the Holy Land.
The recent strength of the shekel has generally been credited to a strong Israeli economy. However, market sources now claim that speculators are targeting the shekel, keeping it artificially high, with foreigners holding nearly $80 billion of the currency.
A massive sell-off of shekels could seriously destabilise the country’s economy and some, like Motorola Israel president Elisha Yanay, suspect that the speculators may have more than profit in mind.
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, Israeli charities are buckling under the strain of providing for growing numbers of needy people, while their own resources are dwindling because of the country’s economic downturn.
“It’s very difficult for those of us who are holding the front,” said Shlomit Shulov-Barkan, deputy director of the Meir Panim soup kitchen network. It has been forced to lay off more than 40 of its 120 employees in the past six months due to declining donations, most of which come from Israelis.