Visestatsminister Dan Meridor avlyste mandag et besøk til Storbritannia av frykt for å bli arrestert. Storbritannia er et av landene hvor domstolene er mest villig til å la anklager om brudd på internasjonale konvensjoner få strafferettslige konsekvenser, til tross for at handlingene er begått i et annet land.
Denne praksisen er en alvorlig belastning på forholdet mellom de to land. Utenriksminister William Hague kommer onsdag til Israel. Han vil ta opp behovet for å fryse bygging av bosetninger. Israelerne vil ta opp lovfortolkningen som gjør at israelske ledere ikke lenger tør besøke Storbritannia.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor canceled a trip to London out of fear he would be arrested for war crimes.
Meridor had been due to give a speech organized by the Britain and Israel Communications and Research Center, a pro-Israel group.
It was feared, however, that Meridor, who is also the intelligence and atomic energy minister, could face potential legal action over the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May, in which nine Turkish activists were killed. Meridor refused to comment.
Several Israeli officials have been threatened with legal action in Britain under the contested legal principle of “universal jurisdiction,” which says that some crimes are so serious they can be prosecuted locally, even if they are alleged to have been committed elsewhere.
Pro-Palestinian organizations have used the principle to pursue Israeli officers who have taken part in operations against Palestinian militants in which civilians have been killed.
The campaign has resulted in no arrests but has caused tension between Britain and Israel.
When Britain’s new Conservative- led government took office, Hague promised to “act speedily” to clarify the law.
“We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country,” he said then.
In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Office said the government was “committed to correct an anomaly that allows people to be detained even where there is no realistic chance of prosecution and ensure that the U.K.’s systems cannot be misused or lead to unintended but serious consequences for international relations.”
A government source said that the situation was unsatisfactory and that it would be raised again with Hague when he arrived.