What Happens When Netanyahu Has Warrants?
From the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Spanish national court judge Jose de la Mata has ordered the police and the civil guard to notify him if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and six former Israeli officials step foot on Spanish soil, since their visit could reopen a case filed against them in Spain for the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010.
The judge put the case on hold last June after Spain reformed its Universal Justice doctrine.
The list of Israeli officials includes Netanyahu, former defense minister Ehud Barak, former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, former minister of strategic affairs Moshe Yaalon, former interior minister Eli Yishai, minister without portfolio Benny Begin and vice admiral in charge of the operation, Maron Eliezer.
The Israeli officials face charges in the case, opened by the National Court, following the attack by Israeli security forces in 2010 on the Freedom Flotilla ship bound for Gaza on a humanitarian mission.
According to the Independent:
It concerns the Mavi Marmara ship, the main civilian vessel in a fleet of six that were attempting to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The six ships were carrying around 500 passengers, humanitarian aid and construction materials. The Israeli Defence Force stormed the ship in a raid that left nine human rights activists dead. A tenth activist died later that month due to wounds sustained in the raid.
The Jerusalem Post reports:
In the 2010 incident, a group of human rights activists and a smaller group of IHH activists (which the quasi-government Turkel Commission Report identified as affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood) boarded several ships to try to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel commandeered and stopped most of the ships without incident, but when Israel Navy commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara they were attacked by IHH activists who wounded some commandos.
The incident left 10 dead on the IHH side.
Spain is just the latest member of the international community to accuse Israel of war crimes and pursue Israeli officials over the affair.
Local proceedings in Turkey went to full trial but stalled after Netanyahu made a partial apology, while several efforts to arrest Israeli officials in England stalled after the government there amended the law to make it more difficult for individual judges to issue arrest warrants without state approval.
At the International Criminal Court, the Mavi Marmara incident has provoked intense controversy with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda performing an initial investigation before deciding to close the case.
The Comoros Islands, which filed the complaint, appealed to the Pretrial Chamber, which voted on a 2-1 split for Bensouda to reconsider her position, a decision upheld on a 3-2 split vote by the ICC Appeals Chamber.
Still many expect Bensouda to close the case again on different grounds.
Israel was cleared by the quasi Israeli-government sponsored Turkel Commission and the UN-sponsored Palmer Report, which validated some of Israel’s narrative of fighting in self-defense or said there was insufficient evidence to pursue Israel for war crimes, even as the Palmer Report said some of the IDF’s force was excessive.
For what it’s worth, the Israeli government considers the warrants to be a “provocation”. They are hoping to get this situation resolved as soon as possible.