Unions in Israel, South Africa threaten Tzipi visit to Jo’burg and Cape Town

Update: Livni cancels trip because of Israel labour dispute spokesperson says. South African unions dispute the reasons given; claim it was because of their legal threat to have her arrested!

Livni branded ‘war criminal’ on national union website

The South African national trade union centre, COSATU,  has lent its prestige to a campaign to arrest Israel’s Tzipi Livni as a ‘war criminal’ – – – if she accepts an invitation to visit South Africa later this week.

The COSATU led Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP) announced on  COSATU’s website that they support the call for the South African authorities to arrest the Israeli Opposition leader.

Ms Livni is scheduled to appear at speaking engagements in Cape Town and Johannesburg, organised by the local Jewish community’s national centre, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

Foreign Ministry Workers’ Union in Israel undermines visit plans

However the probability at the moment is that Ms Livni will not get to South Africa because of a long running and bitter union dispute in Israel involving the Foreign Ministry Workers’ Union.

The  Jewish Board of Deputies this week, according to the leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, has  condemned striking staff at Israel’s Foreign Ministry for obstructing the planned visit to by the Kadima opposition leader.

The Board’s leadership “is extremely frustrated and disappointed by the lack of cooperation by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria’s unwillingness to assist in finding a workable solution,” Ha’aretz reports.

Diplomat union in year long dispute – spy agency Mossad used as strike breakers

“South African leadership believe that while the labour issues faced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry are important, that internal Israeli politics are given prominence over the important concerns of the relationship between Israel and a Diaspora community is extremely disheartening.”

The year-old labour dispute between the Treasury and employees of the Foreign Ministry has escalated over the last few weeks, causing diplomats to go on strike. As a result, there has been a halt in assistance to Israeli officials on trips abroad, which jeopardizes Livni’s planed trip to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

This bitter dispute has already forced the Russian President to cancel a visit to israel;  as well as force Netanyahu to use Israel’s spy agency Mossad to act as strike-breakers.

UN conference cancelled because of Diplomat Union dispute

The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel will now not host a UN conference on alternative energy which was to have been held there in March – because of the diplomats’ union dispute.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is said to be angered by the cancellation because, firstly,  it is rare for the UN to agree to hold a conference – with delegates from 59 countries – in Israel and secondly it means he would not have the pleasure of addressing the conference.

Invitations for the UN event went out over two months ago – and confirmations to attend the conference had come in from over 50 countries.

Representatives of the Treasury and the Foreign Ministry diplomatic workers’ committee were meeting late Tuesday night to try and put an end to the workers sanctions. It was the third meeting in as many days!

Read earlier reports