Brown: Livni is welcome in Britain

British prime minister phones Tzipi Livni as he seeks to defuse diplomatic row with Israel.

    Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, has phoned Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, to tell her she is still welcome in Britain, despite a warrant that was issued in London for her arrest.

    In a telephone call on Wednesday, Brown also reiterated his determination to change the law that allows British courts to issue warrants for alleged war crimes suspects around the world, Livni's office said.

    The arrest warrant was issued over Livni's role during Israel's war on Gaza, but was later withdrawn after she cancelled her visit to London.

    The gesture did little to calm the uproar in Israel over the arrest attempt, the latest in a string of Israeli leaders to be threatened with legal action in Britain.

    Pro-Palestinian petitions

    Pro-Palestinian activists have several times petitioned British courts to issue warrants against Israeli officials.

    True Lies
    By Ayman Mohyeldin in The Middle East Blog
    In September, activists tried to have Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, arrested over his role in the Gaza war.

    A court denied the request on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

    A UN-sponsored report, known as the Goldstone report, has called on both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate accusations of human-rights violations committed during the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

    Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel. It concluded that Israel had used disproportionate force and had deliberately targeted Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, while destroying civilian infrastructure.

    More 1,400 Palestinians were killed during last December's offensive on Gaza, according to estimates by human rights groups.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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