Livni cancels JNF visit to UK

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to Britain this weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested.

Ms Livni had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London. She had also been expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown for private talks.

But she pulled out of the trip for fear of lawyers obtaining an arrest warrant.

She is the latest senior Israeli politician to avoid Britain. In October, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon was advised by a special inter-departmental team working with ministers to pull out of a JNF dinner in London.

Experts on international law from the foreign and justice ministries, and the IDF Attorney-General’s department, have advised cabinet ministers with a security background and senior IDF officers not to visit Britain, Spain, Belgium or Norway, while lawyers in these countries are seeking to arrest Israelis on charges of alleged war crimes through “universal jurisdiction” laws.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, speaking at the JNF conference, said Israel was fighting the laws “tooth and nail” and would “not be shut down”.

A group of around 100 anti-Israel protestors demonstrated outside the Hendon Hall Hotel venue as delegates arrived.

Last updated: 5:18pm, December 14 2009