(photo credit: Courtesy)
The case of an Israeli citizen arrested in Poland and wanted in Germany for
document fraud in connection with the assassination of a senior Hamas commander
in Dubai in January brings up a fascinating question: How can a conflict between
national interest with regard to two friendly countries and the application of
the law be reconciled? How do you maintain friendship and an understanding
between the three countries – Poland, Germany and Israel – who are bound by
shared values and a sensitive past, if enforcing a certain law might rock the
foundation of that friendship? On June 4 an Israeli citizen, identified as “Uri
Brodsky,” suspected of illegally acquiring a German passport in 2009 for one of
Hamas leader Mahmoud al- Mabhouh’s alleged assassins, was arrested at Warsaw’s
airport after Germany issued a European arrest warrant for him.
mutual relations between Israel, Germany and Poland are unique. Germany and
Poland share a painful history and experience of World War II and the Holocaust,
which were catalysts for the establishment of the State of Israel. Germany’s
acknowledgment of the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime and Poland’s owning
up to some dark chapters of its history – while also being a victim of Nazi
Germany – were the cornerstones of the deepening relationship between the three
countries. Germany’s and Poland’s solid support is evidence to their unwavering
commitment to Israel’s existence and security.
Over the years the three
countries have collaborated in a vast range of areas, such as economy,
culture and also security matters, promoting shared democratic values
stand in stark contrast to the experience of World War II. The
these values has led the free world to a uniting consensus over the most
challenging campaigns of all times – combating terrorism.
marks the strong alliance between Israel and the West at the end of the
century into the 21st of facing the challenge of international terrorism
various means to fight it successfully. This sentiment was only
after the tragedy of 9/11 and positioned the fight more centrally in the
delicate chapter of international relations.
POLAND IS a democratic
country with a clear separation of the three branches of
Bound by an international treaty of extradition while heavily
invested in a campaign against terrorism, it is facing a conflict that
from the case of a friendly country fighting terrorism. How can the
system make a decision that will not contradict Poland’s role and
combat terrorism? Poland, having to reconcile between its European
extradite and its commitment to fight terrorism internationally now
in an awkward place morally. Its commitment to Israel’s existence and
might contradict with a legal decision to hand over an Israeli citizen
authorities. This is bound to raise eyebrows and will likely be viewed
as a turn
of a cold shoulder by Poland. Even if found guilty, the Israeli citizen
operating in the context of fighting terrorism.
Based on the above, one
would reasonably assume that the Polish government hands him over to his
This would reflect a just decision by the
executive branch, represented by a leadership committed to Israel and to
international consensus to combat terrorism.
However, this case is
handled by the judicial branch which can easily extradite him within the
European Union, without taking into consideration values, standards and
elements relevant to Poland’s national interest, which are broader than
letter of the “dry” law.
A legal decision to fulfill Germany’s request
and extradite has the potential, even the likelihood, to embarrass the
government greatly, and possibly create tensions with world Jewry.
justice system in Poland would be doing the government a big favor if it
inject into its deliberations the values and standards that it is
consider, morally and historically.
These may not be found in the dry law
but are in compliance with Poland’s unwritten commitment to Israel, and
international effort of fighting terrorism effectively, so that terror
prevented not just in Israel today but also in Poland and Germany
tomorrow.The writer has served in the Justice
Ministry and at the UN.
He holds an LLM in international law as well as degrees in law and