UK Issues War Crimes Warrant for Israeli...
...but takes it back when it turns out that Tzipi Livni isn't visiting
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2009 8:33 AM CST
Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni speaks to reporters after her meeting with Frencg President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(Newser) – A British court issued an arrest warrant against former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Sunday, at the behest of victims of Israel’s Gaza attack. But the warrant was quickly rescinded when the court realized Livni had abandoned plans to visit the UK to attend a conference that day, the Guardian reports. Livni would have been charged with war crimes under “universal jurisdiction,” for helping to plan the three-week Gaza offensive, which Palestinians say left 1,400 dead, mostly civilians.

Israel says it acted legally to defend itself from Gaza rocket attacks, and that war crime allegations are politically motivated. By its count, 1,166 died in the assault, mostly combatants. An embarrassed British Foreign Office said it was “looking urgently into the implications” of the warrant episode, saying the UK sees Israel as a “strategic partner” and hopes to foster Mideast peace. “Israel’s leaders need to be able to come to the UK.”