Media sources in Israel have warned about the escalation of international legal campaigns to pursue Israeli officers and officials on charges on war crimes against the Palestinian people. According to Channel 10 television, three new lawsuits have been filed recently against senior Israeli officials in the Spanish Courts by participants of the 2010 Freedom Flotilla.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Defence Ehud Barak all face legal action, as does the Commander of the Israeli Navy and various other government ministers, the papers against whom were all filed earlier.
The men are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the attack on the civilian participants of the Freedom Flotilla as they attempted to break the siege on the Gaza Strip at the end of May last year. The Spanish courts, it is reported, have appointed a special judge tasked with going to Tel Aviv and investigating the charges being brought against Israelis.
Ehud Barak and former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi face similar lawsuits in a number of countries, including Belgium, France, Greece and South Africa. Charges being brought against the two officials in connection with the flotilla assault include murder, detention, abduction, deportation, torture, robbery and breaches of international treaties.
Sources from the Ministry of Justice have confirmed that a special team has been assembled to combat these proceedings. They also suggest that there are grave concerns over the possibility of similar lawsuits being filed in British courts which could result in the arrest of Israeli officials there.
Middle East Monitor
21 July 2011