Almagor to sue NATO over Serbia

Terror victims association wants to "embarrass" Spain into dropping Shehadeh case against Israel.

By JONATHAN BECK
May 4, 2009 20:07
1 minute read.
Almagor to sue NATO over Serbia

shehadeh rubble iaf strike hamas 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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As Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain's National Court decided on Monday to push on with the inquiry into a 2002 IAF bombing in Gaza that killed Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh and 14 others, Almagor, the Terror Victims Association, was finalizing a lawsuit against NATO personnel who approved bombings in Yugoslavia in the 1990s that killed some 2,500 civilians. Last month, Spanish prosecutors urged Andreu to suspend the inquiry on the grounds that Israel was still investigating the attack. However, Andreu said he was acting under Spain's observance of the principle of universal jurisdiction, which holds that for grave crimes such as genocide, terrorism or torture, suspects can be prosecuted in the country even if the alleged offenses were committed elsewhere. Several top Spanish nationals - including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who served as NATO secretary-general from 1995-1999 - are named in Almagor's case, as are officials from all European NATO member countries and the United States. Almagor head Meir Indor told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that it was a "fluke" that the organization was finalizing its lawsuit just as Andreu had decided to pick up the case. "We were preparing the case anyway, building on the success of the lawsuit against [former PLO leader Yasser] Arafat," he said, referring to a 2001 counter-suit in Belgium that the group brought after the Palestinians sued former prime minister Ariel Sharon.Indor admitted that the Yugoslavian case was meant to "embarrass or open a Pandora's box" that would make third parties think twice before accepting lawsuits filed against Israel by the Palestinians. Every European member country of NATO and the United States would be implicated, and, Indor said, the lawsuit would be pressed in every country that decided to sue Israeli officials for war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza either during the Shehadeh assassination or more recently. One Almagor delegate who is currently in Serbia, identified by Indor as "Mr. D," is an Israeli businessman who happened to get caught in the crossfire when the bombings started and still conducts business in Serbia today. The Serbs were enthusiastic when Almagor picked up their case, Indor quoted Mr. D as saying. Indor emphasized that Almagor was a humanitarian organization representing terror victims globally, not strictly in Israel, and was in the process of securing power of attorney from the Serbs to represent their case.

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