Livni
Livini was in London to attend a conference organised by Israeli publication HaaretzREUTERS

Israel's ex-foreign minister and Knesset member Tzipi Livni has been granted special diplomatic immunity after being asked by the British Metropolitan police to attend an interview over suspected Gaza war crimes in 2009.

Livni received the summons on 30 June, Thursday for a "voluntary interview" from Scotland Yard detectives wanting to examine alleged war crimes while she was in London to attend a conference organised by Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz.

The questions were to be about violation of Geneva Conventions and alleged war crimes in the 2008-09 military operation when Livni was the deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Operation Cast Lead in Gaza led to the deaths of 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

The UK police said there was no ongoing war crimes investigation. In 2011, a UK law was changed so that it would be difficult to obtain arrest warrants for Israeli public figures visiting in an official capacity.

Quick diplomatic connections were made between the two countries following the incident, which resulted in Livni being granted special diplomatic immunity and declining the request for questioning.

A statement released by the Israeli embassy in London read: "Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with its global partners — including the UK — in both its commitment to the rule of law and its ongoing fight against the threat of terrorism and extremism.

"It would expect that those sharing this commitment act to prevent the abuse of their legal system for political ends and to confront attempts to draw a moral equivalence between those perpetrating terror and those fighting against it."

The minister told Haaretz newspaper that the British legal system is being abused and devolving into a theatre of the absurd when Israeli politicians visit London. She added, "We don't summon UK ministers for questioning and we expect the same respect. It's not my personal problem, it's a moral issue."