Tzipi Livni, the head of the Kadima Party, cancelled a trip to London last December after a judge there issued a warrant for her arrest on war-crimes charges (the writ was initiated by a British Palestinian rights group, not the government). Much sniping between Israel and the United Kingdom followed. Now a defiant Livni has pledged to travel to London to make sure it has been made safe for Israelis. “I will do this not for me, not for provocation,” she insisted, “but for the right of every Israeli to travel freely. I am not going to be restricted by extremists because I fought terror.” The war-crimes accusations concerned Livni’s service as interim Prime Minister during last year’s Gaza conflict. (Current officials are protected from arrest by diplomatic immunity.)
British officials have since promised Israel to ensure the jail-free vacationing of former Israeli leaders. However, over 100 British Members of Parliament oppose the bill to which an arrest-banning amendment is attached, and there are even reports that Justice Secretary Jack Straw is holding it up.
Meanwhile, is Livni’s act truly “not for me,” as she claimed? Well, the audacious move certainly couldn’t hurt a politician whom some see as on the ropes. But it would nonetheless be brave—even if the British government must be smart enough to ensure her safe passage. (Right, guys?)
Tzipi Livni: I’m Coming To Britain [The Jewish Chronicle]