Tzipi Livni cancels South Africa trip over arrest fears
Former Israeli Foreign Affairs minister, Tzipi Livni, who was scheduled to be in South Africa this week, will not be coming to the country. While the SA Zionist Federation claims this is due to travel issues it is also as a result of the mounting pressure from human rights activists calling for her arrest. Livni was invited by the South African Zionist Federation to speak in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
On Friday, the Palestine Solidarity Alliance and the Media Review Network, member organizations of the COSATU led Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP), instructed lawyers to launch an urgent high court application for Livni’s arrest; in terms of the Rome Statute, to which South Africa is a signatory.
Livni, as a member of the Israeli Cabinet, played an intimate role in the decision to bomb Gaza in December 2008. It has been alleged that Livni not only helped authorize the decision but she also promoted these attacks.
The UN Fact Finding Mission Report on the Gaza attacks, led by South Africa’s Judge Richard Goldstone, confirmed that such actions constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. In fact, the Goldstone report itself singles out Livni and quotes her during the Israeli attacks on Gaza as saying:
‘[Israel] is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.’
As the Coalition for a Free Palestine we will do all that it takes to ensure that those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations do not set foot in our country, regardless of whether the perpetrator is from Israel or Swaziland.
We will also continue to peruse legal channels to ensure that at no time will be allowed onto South African soil.
The Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP) is a COSATU led coalition representing a wide range of civil society organizations and trade unions. Some member organizations include the South African Council of Churches, South African Young Communist League, South African Communist Party, Muslim Judicial Council, Muslim Students Association, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Palestine Solidarity Group and the student society, the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee.
An arrest warrant for Livni was issued in the UK ahead of her planned visit to the country in the aftermath of the 2008-09 Gaza massacre. Livni subsequently cancelled her trip. Campaigners in the UK and are currently fighting attempts by government to change the legislation that allows for such warrants to be issued. Former head of the Israeli Shin Bet Avi Dichter cancelled a trip to Spain at the end of 2010 over fears of being arrested for war crimes.