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Israel Cuts Off Dialogue With Britain Over War Crimes Law


British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, meets with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman as they prepare to sign an agreement which will increase cooperation between the two countries' film industries, in Jerusalem, 3 Nov 2010

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, meets with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman as they prepare to sign an agreement which will increase cooperation between the two countries' film industries, in Jerusalem, 3 Nov 2010

Israel has suspended strategic discussions with Britain in protest of a British law targeting foreigners for arrest on alleged war crimes.

Israeli officials announced the action Wednesday, shortly after British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived in the country for a two-day visit.

Earlier this week, Israeli Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor canceled a trip to London, due to concerns that he might be detained.

He is the latest in a string of Israeli officials to express concern about Britain's principal of universal jurisdiction. Under the measure, war crimes and crimes against humanity can be prosecuted in Britain even if they were not committed in the United Kingdom.

Pro-Palestinian activists have used the measure to try to persuade Britain to arrest Israelis who allegedly committed war crimes against Palestinians during Arab-Israeli conflicts.

In December, Britain issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes related to Israel's Gaza offensive, which began in late 2008. The move prompted Livni to cancel her trip to Britain.

Israel and Britain had begun a "special strategic dialogue" two years ago in an effort to boost relations.

The Associated Press quotes Hague as saying the British parliament is working to revise the universal jurisdiction measure so that it is not used for "trivial or political reasons."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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