Text of report by Saudi-owned leading pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat website on 13 February
[Interview with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister David Ayalon by Ali al-Salih in London; date not given: "In Interview With Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Says Considering Settlements an Obstacle to Peace is Exaggerated; If we Are To Accept Palestinian Self-Determination, They Should Accept Our Right to a Jewish State"]
Perhaps for security reasons, the meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister David Ayalon was in the Israeli Embassy in a neighbourhood across the affluent High Kensington Street in central London. One feels the security measures even before arriving at the big gate to this exclusive area near Kensington Palace, the private residence of the late Princess Diana. You are watched from a distance by a number of British policemen in their traditional uniform, but the untraditional part of the scene is the machine guns they are carrying. As soon as you cross the gate, policemen receive you by asking you where you are going. Once that is done, you wait for an Israeli security man who comes and searches you as you undergo security measures similar to those that you go through at Tel Aviv Airport, if not more stringent. The searching does not end until you arrive at the place of the meeting from the embassy to Royal Gardens Hotel next to Kensington Palace Gardens. The interview with Ayalon began in one corner of the hotel's halls and was attended by one of his aides and the media affairs consul at the embassy. The text of the interview is as follows:
[Al-Salih] Let us begin by what Israeli media outlets have reported about a letter from the British Foreign Office that you carry in your pocket to protect you from arrest by the judicial prosecution in Britain concerning the war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
[Ayalon] It is not a letter in the literal sense.
[Al-Salih] But your media outlets affirm that it is a letter signed by British Foreign Affairs Secretary David Miliband that you as well as the members of the delegation accompanying you carry in your pockets.
[Ayalon] We hope Britain would solve this problem as soon as possible, as did Spain, Belgium, and other western countries. We have been made promises concerning this. The laws in Spain and Belgium have been amended and we are confident the same thing will happen in Britain so that we would forestall the terrorists that are trying to exploit these laws in the democratic countries.
[Al-Salih] But who is leading the campaign against the Israeli leaders responsible for the war in Gaza? It is not the terrorists; it is renowned lawyers, including Jewish lawyers like Daniel Hachover. I do not think it is your opinion that Machover is a terrorist.
[Ayalon] There are those that are trying to exploit the democracies; …