By Anshel Pfeffer, Marcus Dysch and Martin Bright, December 17, 2009
The Israeli government’s fury at the arrest warrant issued for the former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has culminated in a threat to end all ministerial visits to Britain. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the UK government that this would apply even to those not at risk of arrest, until the UK government changes the law allowing private citizens to bring charges against senior Israelis for war crimes.
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.
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.”