[QODLink]
Middle East
Israeli minister skips UK trip
Arrest fears over war crimes charges force Avi Dichter to shun London conference.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2007 10:25 GMT
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, has asked
for a change in British laws
[File: AP]
Avi Dichter, the Israeli internal security minister, has cancelled a trip to Britain over fears that he could be arrested for war crimes at the behest of pro-Palestinian groups.
 
Dichter, a former director of the Shin Bet domestic spy service, was to have taken part in a London conference on Middle East .
"The minister was told that there was a good chance he could be at risk of arrest," Mati Gill, Dichter's chief of staff, said on Thursday.
 
The minister called off his visit on the advice of Israel's foreign and justice ministries.
"This incident has not marred our bilateral ties, but it is a shame that an opportunity for Dichter to share from his experience has gone to waste," Gill said.
 
Assassination planner
 
Dichter was one of the planners of the assassination of Saleh Shehada, a Hamas commander, in 2002.
 
Shehada, and 14 Palestianian civilians, were killed by an Israeli air strike.
 
Doron Almog, an Israeli ex-general involved in the Shehada assassination, narrowly avoided arrested when in London in 2005.
 
He avoided arrest by returning to Israel after being warned that a British magistrate had ordered his detention.
 
A federal judge in the US threw out private war crimes proceedings against Dichter in 2005.
 

Israel has come under international censure for its handling of a Palestinian revolt that erupted in 2000. Israel says its methods are an appropriate response to armed fighters who operate in crowded Palestinian areas and use tactics like suicide bombings.

   

After Almog's near-arrest, Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, asked British judicial authorities to review laws allowing magistrates to issue such arrest warrants.

 

Livni repeated the request during a visit by David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, last month, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.
Taipei has sided with Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters as relations with Beijing continue downward spiral.