Jerusalem summons British envoy over Livni

By Jessica Elgot, December 15, 2009

Israel has expressed fury at the attempt to arrest opposition leader Tzipi Livni who was due in London on Sunday as the guest speaker for the JNF annual conference.

In a day of intense diplomatic activity, British ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem while in London, the Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor went to see Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Whitehall.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office issued a trenchant statement on the affair, denouncing the fact that pro-Palestinian supporters in the UK retained the ability to seek arrest warrants for Israeli politicians and leading members of the Israeli Defence Forces.

Mr Netanyahu deplored the attempt to arrest Ms Livni who was a member of the coalition war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead.

The JC has learned that Britain's Attorney General Baroness Scotland is to visit Israel in January when she is likely to be faced by insistent calls for her to ratify the situation.

Israel has made it clear to the British authorities that the situation as it stands is unacceptable because no leading Israeli is able to visit the UK with ease.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak did come to Britain for the Labour Party conference in September and narrowly avoided an arrest warrant himself.

Last updated: 5:38pm, December 15 2009