FM official: South African arrest warrants against IDF officers 'ugly and provocative'

Foreign Ministry spokesman says arrest warrants not condoned by country's government.

Mavi Marmara, 2010 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mavi Marmara, 2010
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon on Tuesday condemned as “ugly and provocative” arrest warrants issued against four top former IDF officials involved in decisions regarding the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla by an element of South African law enforcement, which he said acted without the sanction of the country’s government.
Nachshon stated that “there is a coalition committed to an anti-Israel agenda” in South Africa that was trying to “cynically abuse its justice system in order to advance a hostile agenda against Israel,” but that “we know that the highest authorities in South Africa will not lend their backing to this ugly attempt.”
Earlier Tuesday, the NGO Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in Africa distributed a statement that, “South Africa’s Directorate of the Priority Crimes Investigation Unit has issued warrants of arrest against four Israeli commanders from the Israeli Navy and Israeli Defense Forces.”
According to the statement, the warrants of arrest were issued against former chiefof- staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy commander Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom, former head of Military Intelligence Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former head of Air Force intelligence Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avishay Levy.
The NGO’s statement continued that, “this decision follows a four-year-long case involving a South African journalist, Ms. Gadija Davids, who was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked in 2010.
“Davids laid her first complaint with the South African Police Services and South Africa’s National Prosecutions Authority in January 2011.
“In November 2012, South Africa’s Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, found that the case met the necessary jurisdictional requirements and that reasonable grounds exist to investigate the alleged crimes that were committed during the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara.”
While the NGO implied that the South African government was supportive of the arrest warrants, Nachshon said Foreign Ministry officials were in touch with their South African counterparts and hoped to have the decision reversed and nipped in the bud.
South Africa and Israel have butted heads over a number of issues in recent years, including relating to war crimes allegations, but until now there has been no formal move against top IDF officials.
During the day Tuesday, there were mixed reports about whether the NGO’s statement was fully accurate, partially accurate or a hoax.