JERUSALEM (JTA) – Ehud Olmert cancelled a trip to Switzerland after the former Israeli prime minister was warned that he would be arrested on suspicion of war crimes.
Olmert had been scheduled to travel to Switzerland on Monday, but was warned over the weekend by Israeli defence and justice officials that he would be detained for questioning upon landing, Israel’s Channel 12 first reported Wednesday evening.
According to the report, Olmert at first said he would still travel to Switzerland, but backed down after the officials said his detention would cause great embarrassment to Israel.
Olmert was prime minister during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the three-week Gaza military operation known as Cast Lead that started in late December 2008.
He reportedly told the officials that he would tell the Swiss that Israel was fighting terrorist organizations – Hezbollah and Hamas, respectively – during the wars.
Olmert is not the only Israeli official who has been under threat of being arrested in a foreign country for war crimes. Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a trip to London in 2009 after threats that she would be arrested, and on a private visit to Britain in 2016 managed to evade arrest after a warrant for her arrest was sought by anti-Israel activists.