The British government has granted temporary diplomatic immunity to Israel's Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni during her visit to London this week, which serves to protect her from an arrest warrant for any alleged war crimes, reports Britain's The Guardian newspaper.
This was confirmed by Livin's office, according to Wednesday's issue of Israel's Haaretz newspaper, who also stated that Livni is scheduled to visit Britain on Wednesday evening to meet with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Livni has been granted the temporary diplomatic immunity on a "special mission" ground, which meets the essential elements of status usually granted to people who visit UK for formal political talks.
Livni's arrival in Britain comes in parallel with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas visit to London where he is scheduled to meet on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry to discuss Palestinian- U.S. relations, as it was reported by U.S. official sources.
London lawyers Hickman and Rose, acting on behalf of a relative of a Palestinian killed in the bombing of a police compound on the first day of Israel's military assault on Gaza, which began in December 2008, have been seeking to secure an arrest warrant for Livni who served as a Foreign Minister at the time, on charges of committing war crimes.
Haaretz added that "The law firm had asked the British public prosecutor to instruct the British police to arrest Livni upon her arrival in UK and charge her with war crimes".
In accordance with British law, which was amended several years ago, issuing an arrest warrant on suspicions of war crimes depends on the public prosecutor's approval.
Haaretz pointed out that "The law firm had requested the issue of an arrest warrant for Livni at the end of last month but the British government informed the public prosecutor on Monday that it had already granted Livni diplomatic immunity". Haaretz reports that Livni was granted the same immunity during her visit to UK in 2011, which protected her from an arrest warrant issued in 2009.
British authorities issued an arrest warrant in 2005 against Israel's former commander of the southern front, Doron Almog but he escaped the arrest when he refused to depart from the airplane and returned on the same flight back to Israel. In 2009, Israel's Defence Minister, Moshe Ya'alon cancelled a scheduled visit to London fearing his arrest on charges of committing war crimes during the assassination of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, who was killed along with 14 civilians; including nine children.
NGOs sought in recent years to issue an arrest warrant for Israel's former Defence Minister, Ehud Barak for his role in the war on Gaza in 2008 but the court rejected their request on the ground he enjoyed immunity.