Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor is the latest Israeli official who has reportedly had to cancel his plans to come to the UK after being warned that he could be subject to an arrest warrant if he sets foot on British soil. Meridor, who was due to speak at a BICOM dinner on Monday (1st Nov), would most likely have an arrest warrant issued for him in relation to his role in the illegal interception of the Mavi Marmara, which was attacked by Israeli forces while en route to break the illegal siege on Gaza in May this year. Nine international humanitarians were killed as a result of the Israeli attack and one man still remains in a coma.
This is not the first time an Israeli official has recently had to cancel plans to visit the UK for fear of being arrested for war crimes. Tzipi Livni (Opposition leader), Moshe Ya'alon (Strategic Affairs Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff) and Avi Dichter (ex head of Shin Bet) have all cancelled similar trips to Europe in recent weeks.
There is some speculation as to whether or not this flurry of public cancellations may partly be a PR stunt on the part of the Israelis who are trying to pressure the British government to speed up their disgraceful pledge to change the British laws relating to universal jurisdiction in order to make it easier for war criminals from Israel, and anywhere else, to visit the UK. Under current legislation any private individual may apply to a magistrate for an arrest warrant if a suspected war criminal is visiting their country. The proposed change in the law would give the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) veto power over the issuing of private arrest warrants adding a political dimension to what should be a straightforward criminal matter.