Israel’s internal security minister canceled a trip to Britain out of concern he would be arrested for alleged war crimes.
Avi Dichter was scheduled to attend a British conference next month on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts, but backed out at the behest of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Political sources said there was concern that pro-Palestinian activists in Britain could seek to have Dichter arrested and tried for his role in a 2002 Israeli airstrike that killed a top Hamas terrorist along with 14 civilians in Gaza.
Dichter was head of the Shin Bet security service at the time. The then-commander of Israeli forces in Gaza, Gen. Doron Almog, narrowly escaped arrest on similar war-crimes charges in London in 2005.
Israel has appealed to the Brown government to scale back British laws allowing for private war-crimes suits to be pursued through the police.