Netanyahu is among seven Israeli politicians who could face arrest if they land in Spain, despite the fact that an old case against them was deemed unjustified.
A Supreme Court judge in Madrid, Spain, renewed an old, defeated case against Israel by ordering the arrest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and five former ministers – Dan Meridor, Eli Yishai, Avigdor Liberman, Ehud Barak and Benny Begin – if they step foot on Spanish soil.
Eliezer Marom, top IDF commander at the time, reportedly may be added to the list.
In 2010, the Israeli navy intercepted the Mavi Marmara, a Comoros-flagged Turkish ship, as it attempted to violate the maritime blockade on Gaza. Passengers on board, claiming to have brought only humanitarian supplies, ambushed the IDF soldiers with knives and metal rods. In the ensuing fight, 10 Turkish activists were killed and several IDF soldiers seriously wounded.
The Union of Comoros, an Arab League state that does not recognize Israel, called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel for war crimes in May 2013. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation, but she determined six months later that even if war crimes were committed, they “would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the ICC.”
In July 2015, Bensouda rejected a new request to reopen the investigation, noting that Turkish activists on the ship had attacked IDF soldiers.
‘Cynical’ Attempt to Demonize Israel
“IDF soldiers acted in self-defense in stopping an attempt to break through the maritime closure that was carried out in accordance with international law as determined by a committee appointed by the UN Secretary General, a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge and international observers,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the time.
“The soldiers followed international law and defended themselves from violence by terrorists,” Ya’alon asserted. “The attempts to smear the name of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, are political, cynical and unbearable.”
Judge Jose de la Mata, who announced the potential arrests on Friday, claimed that Israel’s actions could constitute crimes of illegal detention, deportation and torture against persons and goods protected in armed conflict.
Israel considers this development a “provocation,” declared Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. “This is an issue that has been subject to legal proceedings for several years now. The State of Israel and the embassy in Madrid have been in communication with legal authorities in Spain and handling the issue. We hope that the case will be closed soon, as it should have been a long time ago.”
Warrant Issued Prior to Paris Terror Attacks
The statement by the Madrid judge came just prior to the Islamic terror attacks that struck Paris that evening, killing at least 129 and wounding roughly 350 others – at least 100 critically. It was the worst attack on Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombing, in which 191 people were killed by Islamic terrorists.
Like other European countries, Spain held an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss security. “There is no cause that justifies this. We are in a struggle between civilization and brutality,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stated.