Spanish court: Arrest warrants not enforceable for Netanyahu, Liberman, others

Ruling is viewed as a victory for anti-BDS groups in Spain.

December 26, 2015 20:31
1 minute read.
Israel cabinet

Netanyahu at cabinet meeting. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/POOL)


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BERLIN – Spain’s National Court overruled a lower court’s decision calling for the authorities to arrest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, and additional officials over Israel’s seizure of the Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010.

"It is good that this matter has been put to rest,” David Hatchwell Altaras, President of the Jewish Community of Madrid and Chairman of Taglit Europe, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday. “What is appalling is that a Spanish judge would want to open a case related to the only country in the Middle East where a legal system guarantees fairness. Where are cases being opened against Khamenei, Assad, al-Baghdadi and other undisputed violators of human rights?”

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The court’s decision was reported on Wednesday in Spain’s media. Other Israeli officials who faced arrest included current and former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, respectively; former interior minister Eli Yishai; former intelligence minister Dan Meridor; and minster-without-portfolio Bennie Begin. Together with Netanyahu, they made up the so-called Forum of Seven, an ad hoc committee of ministers that made key decisions on security issues at the time. Former Israel Navy chief Eliezer Marom, the IDF commander running the operation at the time, also faced arrest.

The Spanish judge who initially issued the warrants in November accepted a legal suit from three Spanish anti-Israel activists who were aboard the Mavi Marmara. The vessel sought to break Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

A UN report found Israel’s blockade to be legal.

The three judges from the National Court voided the ruling, which makes it unenforceable by the police. The ruling is viewed as a victory for anti-BDS groups in Spain.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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