Friday, October 3, 2008

Israel tries quashing arrest warrants against officials

Dan Halutz

"Israel and Spain have reportedly been trying to untangle a diplomatic mess of sorts, brought on by a Spanish human rights group, which is demanding seven Israeli officials involved in the 2002 assassination of Hamas operative Salah Shehade, be arrested if they set foot on Spanish soil.

Salah Shehade, who led Hamas' Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was targeted in a Gaza Strip operation in the summer of 2002. The operation carried an unfortunate civilian toll, as 15 Palestinians, including 11 children, were killed and dozens of other were wounded.

According to a Friday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the Spanish rights group petitioned a Madrid court in June, demanding it issues arrest warrants against the Israeli officials involved in ordering Shehade's assassination.

The group named Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, then-Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, then-Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, then-Air Force Commander Dan Halutz, Giora Eiland, then-head of the IDF Operation Branch and Doron Almog former IDF Southern Command chief.

The Spanish authorities have recently relayed a secret communiqué to the Israeli government, advising it on the proceeding and inquiring as to what – if any – measures had been taken against each of the people involved; and whether or not any of them still hold official state positions which grant them diplomatic immunity.

Israel expects the Spanish government to quash the petition, as the UK before it........"

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