Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and additional top government officials could possibly be detained if they step foot in Spain after a judge there executed an arrest warrant stemming from a fatal 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, but Israel is disregarding the move as a “provocation.”
In the 2010 occurrence, a group of human rights activists — which involved members affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, based on authorities – boarded several aid ships to attempt and break an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Israel’s navy was allowed to stop several of the ships without unpleasant incident, but its commandos were assaulted when boarding the Mavi Marmara, leaving 10 activists dead in an resulting gun battle.
Three Spanish nationals who were onboard the vessel then sued Netanyahu and other Israeli government officials, who during the time made key security choices for Israel.
Among the officials are former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman; Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, the former defense ministers; former Interior Minister Eli Yishai; former Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, and Bennie Begin, minister-without-portfolio, The Times of Israel reports.
A judge in Spain’s National Court in 2010 decided that the country no longer has the power to file lawsuits in international occurrences and referred the case to the International Criminal Court, which dismissed it.
However Judge Jose de la Mata discovered a loophole Friday that would permit Spanish authorities to re-open their research of the raid if any of the officials go into Spain, Ynetnews reported.
“It’s a provocation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon explained to The Times of Israel Tuesday. “The Israeli Embassy in Madrid is in touch with Spanish General Prosecutor in order to close the file as promptly as possible. We hope that this will be over soon.”
If the seven officials go into Spain, a judge could question and detain them for their supposed part in the occurrence. But Netanyahu could be exempt if the Spanish government establishes he has diplomatic immunity, Ynetnews reports