Tzipi Livni granted special immunity for UK visit


Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity for her visit to London this week, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Ms Livni's trip has been awarded "special mission status", offering protection against the threat of arrest or prosecution.

Anti-Israel groups had again threatened to apply for an arrest warrant for Ms Livni, claiming she should be prosecuted for war crimes for her role in Israel's 2009 Cast Lead operation in Gaza.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Since the visit meets all the essential elements for a special mission, and for avoidance of any doubt on the matter, the FCO has confirmed consent to the visit as a special mission."

Ms Livni is due to speak at a JNF event on Thursday evening in London and is also expected to meet Foreign Office ministers. Widescale protests are expected.

London lawyers Hickman and Rose had attempted to secure an arrest warrant on behalf of relatives of a Palestinian killed during Cast Lead.

Last month the Crown Prosecution Service received an application for a warrant, but a spokesman said the Director of Public Prosecutions would not now consider the application due to the special mission status.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also applied the same status when Ms Livni visited London in 2011.

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