UN chief considering Israeli 'war-crimes suspect' for top post

UN chief considering Israeli 'war-crimes suspect' for top post
Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who has been accused of war crimes during the 2008/2009 war on Gaza, has reportedly been offered a top UN position.
2 min read
13 February, 2017
Livni has been accused of war crimes during the 2008/2009 war on Gaza [AFP]

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has reportedly offered a post of deputy secretary-general to former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the leader of the Hatnua Party and number-two on the Knesset's Zionist Union faction was offered by Guterres in a phone call over the weekend the position of under-secretary-general.

If she accepts such appointment, which would have to be approved by the UN Security Council first, she would become the first Israeli to serve in that position.

However, Livni's office said that "no official offer has been received", while her associates called it a "preliminary check".

The Israeli politician has been accused of overseeing war crimes during the War on Gaza in 2008-2009, when she was serving as foreign minister.

Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli assault on the Palestinian enclave, killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

Livni has evaded questioning over war crimes several times while traveling in Europe in recent years.

Last month, she canceled a visit to Brussels, where Belgian prosecutors were going to question her as part of an ongoing investigation into the Gaza war crimes.

In 2016, she was summoned for questioning by British authorities when she arrived in London to attend a conference.

However, she was later granted immunity by changing the status of the trip to official.

The reports of Livni's offer come amid a row over the proposal to name former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of the UN mission to Libya.

According to Israeli media reports, Israel would accept Fayyad’s appointment only if Livni was offered the UN post.

On Saturday, Guterres defended his choice to appoint Fayyad as the UN peace envoy to Libya, a day after the US blocked the appointment.

The choice "was solely based on Mr Fayyad's recognised personal qualities and his competence for that position", said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.