Two South African groups applied for an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni (photo, from aljazeera.net), the head of Israel’s Kadima party, over alleged war crimes. But their application has been turned down by the South African police’s special investigation division.
Livni was due to visit the country later this week.But on Wednesday the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) announced that her visit was postponed due to a labour strike in Israel.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, 1,387 Palestinians were killed in the war on Gaza, including 773 civilians, 330 combatants, 248 policemen and 36 people whom the group was unable to classify as combatants or non-combatants.
Thirteen Israelis died following Israel’s“Operation Cast Lead” offensive.
McIntosh Polela, a spokesman for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, confirmed that they had jurisdiction to obtain a warrant as requested by the two organisations, but said the application by the PSA and MRN had been refused because “there are insufficient grounds for us to obtain a warrant of arrest”.
He added that the law required Livni to be in the country for the DPCI to begin an investigation into the allegations of war crimes against her.
“We have concluded that it would be highly irresponsible for us to obtain a warrant of arrest without following the letter of the law,” said Polela.
Although Zev Krengel, the chairman of the SAJBD, said Livni’s decision “had nothing whatsoever to do with threats by local anti-Israel activists”, the SA Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) thinks otherwise.
“While the SA Zionist Federation claims [the postponement] is due to travel issues, it is also as a result of the mounting pressure from pro human rights activists calling for her arrest,” Tahir Sema, a SAMWU spokesman, said in a statement.
“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.”