London, Brussels- Former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni has cancelled a visit she was expected to make to Brussels after Belgian prosecutors confirmed they wanted to question hear over war crimes allegations.
Local newspaper Le Soir said prosecutors had been hoping to question Livni over allegations of war crimes in the 2008-9 Israeli war in Gaza, when she was foreign minister.
“We wanted to take advantage of her visit to try to advance the investigation,” a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutor Thierry Werts told Agence France Presse.
Livni’s spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment from AFP, but the foreign ministry reacted strongly.
“We reject this cynical abuse of the Belgian legal system to advance a political agenda,” ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.
He labelled the attempt to question Livni “another cheap publicity stunt with no legal basis that was organized and executed by an anti-Israeli organization.”
Livni, one of Israel’s most influential women, is named along with other political and military leaders in a complaint filed in June 2010 over alleged crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead.
More than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died during the Israeli offensive between December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009.
Thirteen Israelis, including ten soldiers, also died.
The Belgian-Palestinian Association supporting the complaint said in a statement it wanted to hold Livni responsible for her role in the war, as well as Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, then prime minister and minister of defense.
In December 2009 Livni cancelled a visit to London after being informed that she was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a UK court over her role in the same war.