The PJ Tatler

Palestinians can freely travel to London but Israelis cannot

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can travel to London where he now is visiting on a two day stay.

On the other hand, in December 2009 former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni was blocked from visiting Britain when a London court issued an arrest warrant against her based on a complaint filed by Palestinians. The complaint cited the former foreign minister’s official role in combating military aggression by Hamas in the Gaza strip.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was so enraged when he learned of the manipulation of the system, he got the warrant withdrawn and personally called Livni to apologize to her.

Tivni yesterday vowed to seek to travel freely and to test the initial ban. “The British system was “being abused by extremists for political reasons,” she told the UK Daily Telegraph.

Israeli government experts on international law, however, caution that Israeli Defense Force officials and others in the government be careful in travel, lest another local judge abuse the rule of law again.

It is a parable for the times we live in that today: Abbas is free to travel but Israelis must exercise caution.