PM’s refusal to help with security for Gantz’s UK trip risked legal incident, including his potential arrest — TV report

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz (L) meets with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in London on March 6, 2024. (David Cameron/X)
War cabinet minister Benny Gantz (L) meets with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in London on March 6, 2024. (David Cameron/X)

The Prime Minister’s Office’s refusal to help coordinate war cabinet minister Benny Gantz’s overseas trip to the UK this week, including on matters related to his security, exposed Gantz and his delegation to potential legal troubles, including lawsuits and arrest warrants, relating to the war in Gaza, Channel 12 reports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to be infuriated by Gantz’s overseas visit, which the minister arranged without his consent, and which started in DC on Monday and Tuesday, and continued to London on Wednesday.

The Channel 12 report says tonight that the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office was concerned with the anti-Israel protests and moves among pro-Palestinian activists to potentially file legal motions against Gantz or members of his delegation, including seeking their arrests, and turned to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help prepare for the trip.

The UK foreign office sought to extend official status to Gantz’s visit, and thus to provide diplomatic immunity against any legal suits and arrest warrants, but quickly encountered trouble, the report says.

Having initially begun working with the British authorities to ensure that Gantz would have protected status, and having received Gantz’s details from the minister’s office, the Israeli Foreign Ministry after a few hours stopped responding to its British counterpart, according to the report, which said the British office was “shocked” by the developments.

Not wanting to take any chances of an international incident on its soil, the UK Foreign Office turned to the British embassy in Israel to successfully complete the process of providing official state status to Gantz and the delegation.

Yesterday, Channel 12 reported that at Netanyahu’s instruction, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Tzipi Hotovely ordered embassy staff not to assist the Shin Bet with making security arrangements for Gantz’s visit, among them logistical matters such as transportation and lodging.

That report stressed that Gantz’s security would not be harmed, because Gantz’s own staff and the relevant Israeli entity took care of various unspecified arrangements and coordinated them with the British authorities.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on tonight’s report and the PMO did not respond to a request for comment, Channel 12 says. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that matter had nothing to do with him, it adds.

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