Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spanish court issues arrest warrants for Israeli war criminals

24.07.08

Bethlehem / PNN - A Spanish court issued arrest warrants for seven high ranking Israeli officials for war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip in 2002. An Israeli airstrike targeting the house of Palestinian activist Salah Shehada killed at least 14 other Palestinians, including children, and injured many more in the 2002 bombing.

Gaza City's Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) filed the case on behalf of six Palestinian survivors and was accepted by the National Court of Spain. The Israeli officials include former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer, former Commander of the Airforce Dan Halutz, former Chief of Staff Moshe Yalon, the retired Senior General Doron Almog, and former Military Adviser Michael Herzog.

The arrest warrants authorize the arrest of the officials once they enter Spanish territory. The accused may also lose the diplomatic immunity they currently enjoy in Israel.

The Spanish National Court is examining the case in its first step towards launching a formal prosecution. This is the first time civilian survivors of an Israeli assassination attempt have filed a lawsuit in Spain against the responsible Israeli officials.

Similar cases have previously been filed in Israeli and British courts, but have not resulted in prosecution. British magistrates issued a warrant for Doron Almog in 2005 for war crimes, but he evaded arrest in Britain and returned to Israel.

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