Prime Minister apologises to Israel

A diplomatic gaffe has obliged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to apologise to Israel concerning an arrest warrant issued by a British court against former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Tzipi Livni and Gordon Brown
Livni and BrownAT a time when relations between Britain and Israel have been strained regarding the labelling of food products from Israel, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and UK officials in the Foreign Office have had to respond speedily on the issue of an arrest warrant against a former Israeli Foreign Minister.

Tzipi Livni who is leader of the main opposition party Kadima, had planned to visit Britain but called off following the issue of the warrant. Her office stated that the trip has not been cancelled but merely postponed.
Deputy Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman said, on a tour in Arad on Tuesday (15 December 2009), that Britain’s recent behaviour does not bode well.

FM Liberman said that Israel is not looking for confrontation or friction, but does expect a more circumspect and objective, less one-sided stance from Britain . Issues between Israel and Britain should be dealt with in different tones. Israel will not be indifferent to arrest orders for senior Israeli officials, Britain's position in the votes on the Goldstone Commission, the decision to mark imported goods produced in Judea and Samaria , or the British support for the Swedish draft at the recent EU meeting to unilaterally divide Jerusalem. FM Liberman discussed these subjects in a long telephone conversation he held with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Tuesday evening.

Secretary Miliband told FM Liberman that he was concerned about the situation and that it was unacceptable to him as well as to other Cabinet members in the British government. He said that solutions must be found so that situations in which an arrest order is issued for a senior Israeli official will not be repeated. He stressed the importance of Israeli-British relations and of continuing the dialogue.

FM Liberman stated that Israel would instruct its envoys in European countries to work towards changing universal law concerning anti-terrorism. Terrorism, said FM Liberman, is the real threat to world peace in the 21st century and combating it is not like confronting regular armies. Democratic states must adjust to the new situation, vis-a-vis terrorists that use the advantages of a democratic society to destroy democracy in the world. The two ministers agreed to continue their dialogue and to work towards remedying the situation.

Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis said Wednesday that Britain was "absolutely determined to make sure that this can never happen again."Because Israel is a strategic partner and close friend of the UK, it is absolutely essential representatives of the state of Israel can visit Britain freely to talk about the Middle East peace process," he told the BBC.

Meanwhile Israel's President Shimon Peres said that issuing a warrant for the arrest of an Israeli politician is one of the "biggest political mistakes the UK has ever made".

Balfour failureEd footnote: The 'biggest mistake the UK has ever made' was back in 1947 when British warships turned away holocaust survivors from entering the land of Israel to have them either sent back to the German camps from which they had fled or imprisoned in camps in Cyprus.
These events have been captured in the film entitled 'The Forsaken Promise' which chronicles Britain's failure to live up to the resolutions contained in the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the actions of the UK Government at the end of the Second World War.

The 2-part DVD highlights a number of tragic events that took place at that time, mainly through the testimonies of people who were victims of those events, participants in them, or eye-witnesses to them. They speak of Britain’s political expediency and even treachery towards the Jewish people in appeasing the militant Arab nationalist movement, as well as causing the wholesale misery of many thousands of Jewish people who were turned away from the shores of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s. Watch the trailer.

However, over the centuries British Christian leaders have identified in the Bible God's eternal purposes and how God has used Britain as a 'Cyrus nation' in achieving His purposes for the Jewish people. Listen to what some of them - including Robert Murray McCheyne have said.
(The recording is part of the soundtrack from the film 'The Destiny of Britain'.)

Christians Together, 17/12/2009