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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Israel trying to avoid prosecution in Spain

Mon, 02 Feb 2009 18:34:53 GMT | PressTV

Israel's Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer
among seven officials prosecuted in Spain.
Tel Aviv is seeking to avoid a Spanish lawsuit filed against seven Israeli officials accused of "crimes against humanity" in the Gaza Strip.

Representatives of the charged Israeli officials were summoned to a meeting with the Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan Monday afternoon, in a bid to devise a united plea, Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported.

Spanish judge, Fernando Andreu began an investigation Thursday into seven current or former Israeli officials over a 2002 bombing in Gaza. The bombing killed a top Hamas commander, Salah Shehadeh, and 14 other people including nine children.

Israel's Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer along with former Israel Air Force and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, former GOC Southern Command Doron Almog, former National Security Council head Giora Eiland and Brigadier-General (Res.) Mike Herzog have been charged by the Spanish judge.

Andreu acted under a doctrine that allows prosecution of foreign nationals in Spain, and other European countries, to reach far beyond national borders in cases of torture or war crimes.

The Monday meeting is also expected to study ways to cajole the Spanish judge into reconsidering the prosecution.

The move is in line with an earlier Israeli cabinet decision to endorse a resolution, proposed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, which would support the army officers against possible war crimes prosecution in foreign courts.

Under the resolution Israel is committed to providing full moral and legal support to any soldier or army officers faced with legal action in foreign courts.

Israel launched a 23-day war against the Gaza Strip late December killing at least 1,330 people including women and children.

The huge number of civilian casualties in the Gaza War has fueled speculations over a wave of legal prosecutions against Israel, which is accuse of war crimes in the costal strip.

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