Israel said it expected “different behavior” from a key ally, after opposition lawmaker Tzipi Livni was summoned for an interview with UK police. Livni was Israel’s foreign minister during a deadly conflict in Gaza.
Israel’s foreign ministry on Sunday criticized a request from Scotland Yard to interview former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni over suspected war crimes committed during the 2008-2009 conflict with Gaza.
The ministry said it intervened after Livni, an opposition member in the Knesset, received the request from the British Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit ahead of her visit to the UK last week.
“We would have expected different behavior from a close ally such as the UK,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Israel will do all in its power to ensure that all of its citizens are not the subject of the cynical, political abuse of otherwise legitimate legal tools,” it added.
Tobias Ellwood, the UK’s minister in charge of Middle Eastern affairs, deemed Livni’s trip an official “state visit,” which would grant her diplomatic immunity, Israeli media reported.
Scotland Yard’s request for an interview reportedly sought to clarify her position during the 22-day “Operation Cast Lead” on Gaza, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians.
Thirteen Israelis were killed during the conflict, including 10 soldiers.
A British court in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for the foreign minister after an application was submitted by activists alleging she committed war crimes as foreign minister.
However, the UK passed an amendment of a law that put officials at risk of arrest for alleged war crimes in a bid to soothe strained ties with Israel.
The change effectively placed approval for private arrest warrants for offenses committed under certain international laws, including the Geneva Convention, under the chief prosecutor’s domain.
ls/bk (AFP, dpa)