Netanyahu condemns Britain for issuing warrant against ex foreign minister

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London, Dec. 16 (ANI): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned Britain for issuing an arrest warrant against Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

The Independent quoted Netanyahu, as saying that the move was "an absurdity".

The Israeli foreign ministry released a statement saying that the warrant issued by a London court was a threat to bilateral relations, as Israel might be forced to end official visits to Britain unless there was a change in the law.

The British ambassador in Jerusalem, Tom Phillips, received a dressing-down from senior Israeli officials. Naor Gilon, deputy director of the European division, told Phillips that "if this persists the situation would force us to consider whether officials should go to Britain or not."

On Saturday, an unprecedented arrest warrant was issued by a London court against Livni at the behest of pro-Palestinian activists, on the grounds that she was responsible for war crimes during Israel's devastating Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter.

Livni said the court had been "abused" by the plaintiffs. "This is a lawsuit against any democracy that fights terror," she said.

Later, the warrant was cancelled after officials learned that Livni, leader of the opposition Kadima party, was not in Britain after all.

The issuing of the warrant against Livni comes two months after a lawyer attempted to have a warrant issued against the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, as he visited Britain.

"By a very small change of legislation, the issue could be at least controlled if not totally wiped off the map," Israeli Information Minister Yuli Edelstein said.

Last night the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, reassured Israel that London was "looking urgently" at ways in which the "UK system might be changed in order to avoid this sort of situation arising again". (ANI)

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