Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon has cancelled a trip to London to speak at a JNF charity dinner over fears he may face arrest for war crimes.
Former IDF chief-of-staff Mr Ya’alon said the trip was “cancelled to avoid playing into the hands of anti-Israel propaganda” after the attempted arrest of Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak when he visited the UK last week.
He is believed to have sought legal advice before accepting the invitation to speak at the JNF event on behalf of Benji's Home, a charity for Israeli soldiers with no family in the country.
Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak offered his support to embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a packed Labour Friends of Israel meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Tuesday night.
Mr Barak, who leads Israel’s Labour Party, praised the economic nous of Mr Brown, who was among the 500-plus MPs and conference delegates at the meeting.
He echoed the Prime Minister’s keynote speech earlier in the day by urging Labour supporters to “never give in and keep fighting to victory” in the next election.
Foreign secretary David Miliband made it clear that the government will not back attempts by Palestinian supporters to try to have Israeli politicians arrested as war criminals.
Speaking at the Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Miliband said: “This will never become a country where ministers of Israel are unable to come and have proper dialogue with the government of the United Kingdom.”
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.
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.
Ehud Barak’s face remained expressionless. The reporters surrounded the defence minister, asking again and again, “do you have anything to say about the Russian ship?” — but he would not even look at them. His bodyguards cleared a path for him as he stepped into his official car and sped away.
None of the countries allegedly involved in the mystery of the Arctic Sea — the boat that disappeared in the Baltic Sea for several days in July after being boarded by pirates — have any interest in publicity.