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Israeli minister Moshe Ya'alon turned down UK visit over arrest fears
Vice-prime minister pulled out of fundraising event after being warned he could be held on suspicion of war crimes


December 14, 2009 - Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear at a London fundraising event last month after he was warned he might face arrest on suspicion of war crimes. His decision, reported in October, came a week after lawyers for 16 Palestinians failed to persuade a British court to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence and deputy prime minister, over Israel's war in Gaza this January. Barak, whose visit included addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, was regarded as having diplomatic immunity...

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Israeli minister Moshe Ya'alon turned down UK visit over arrest fears
Vice-prime minister pulled out of fundraising event after being warned he could be held on suspicion of war crimes

James Meikle

israeli-strategic-affairs-001.jpg

Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli vice-prime minister and strategic affairs minister


December 14, 2009

Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear at a London fundraising event last month after he was warned he might face arrest on suspicion of war crimes.

His decision, reported in October, came a week after lawyers for 16 Palestinians failed to persuade a British court to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence and deputy prime minister, over Israel's war in Gaza this January. Barak, whose visit included addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, was regarded as having diplomatic immunity.

Ya'alon had been invited by the Jewish National Fund. He had cancelled at least one previous planned trip to the UK. He was advised not to travel over an incident dating back to July 2002 when he was chief of staff of the Israeli military. An Israeli jet bombed a house in Gaza, killing Salah Shehadeh, then leader of Hamas's military wing, and 14 civilians, including Shehadeh's wife and several children.

In June a Spanish court shelved an investigation into that attack. The suspects also included the former defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. He has attacked the "legal circus" in Spain and the UK.

In December 2007 Avi Dichter, then public security minister and head of the Shin Bet internal security agency at the time of the Shehadeh incident, cancelled a trip to Britain the following month for a security conference at King's College London.

In September 2005 detectives were waiting at Heathrow airport to arrest the retired Israeli general Doron Almog on war crimes allegations relating to house demolitions and assassinations in Gaza, also in 2002. But he remained on the El Al plane for two hours before flying off. The Guardian revealed last year that Scotland Yard allowed him to escape partly because officers feared an attempt to stop him would lead to a gun battle.



:: Article nr. 61077 sent on 15-dec-2009 00:25 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=61077

Link: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/14/israeli-moshe-yaalon-visit-arrest



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