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Fearing Arrest, Israeli Cabinet Minister Rejects British Trip

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An Israeli Cabinet minister has decided not to visit Britain because of concerns he could be arrested there on suspicion of committing war crimes.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon turned down an invitation to a Jewish charity fundraiser after his legal advisers warned he faced possible charges stemming from his time as the chief of staff of the Israeli military. They said Ya'alon could be arrested for involvement in the 2002 assassination of a Hamas militant leader in a strike that killed 14 civilians.

Ya'alon's decision not to travel comes one week after Palestinian activists tried unsuccessfully to have Israel's defense minister arrested during a trip to Britain.

Israeli officials have been threatened with prosecution in Britain under the legal principle of "universal jurisdiction," which says suspected perpetrators of serious crimes can be prosecuted in countries other than where the crimes were committed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.