A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today.That last bit's curious. Israel's weapons tended to be indiscriminate so how did they count the dead? And what does Israel call a combatant given that it sees pregnant women as a demographic threat?
Tzipi Livni, a member of the war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead, had been due to address a meeting in London on Sunday but cancelled her attendance in advance. The Guardian has established that Westminster magistrates' court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers acting for some of the Palestinian victims of the fighting but it was later dropped.
The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under "universal jurisidiction". Israel rejects these efforts as politically motivated, saying it acted in self-defence against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.
Livni, head of the opposition Kadima party, played a key role in decisions made before and during the three-week offensive. Palestinians claim 1,400 were killed, mostly civilians; Israel counted 1,166 dead, the majority of them combatants.
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