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Livni cancels South Africa visit

JTA

January 19, 2011 | 11:09 am

Israeli lawmaker Tzipi Livni canceled a scheduled trip to South Africa due to a strike by her country’s Foreign Ministry workers, the ministry said.

Palestinian activists’ groups on Wednesday disputed the reason given by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to the South African media, saying that the threat of being arrested on war crimes charges for her role in the Gaza war is what made Livni decide to nix her trip.

Livni, Israel’s opposition leader and head of the Kadima Party, was scheduled to visit South Africa at the end of the month as a guest of the Jewish Board of Deputies, according to the South African Press Association. She was scheduled to give several speeches and hold meetings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Several diplomatic visits to Israel and from Israel to other countries have been postponed or canceled due to the strike.

Earlier this week, the Media Review Network, a South African organization dedicated to dispelling stereotypes about Muslims, told the South African Press Association that it had instructed its attorneys to secure the arrest warrant in accordance with the Rome statutes, to which South Africa is a signatory, “which obligates all member states to honor their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals.”

It is not the first time that foreign organizations have tried to secure warrants for Livni’s arrest for her actions during the Gaza war. A British court issued an arrest warrant for Livni in December 2009, forcing Livni to cancel her visit.

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