A Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials over the 2010 raid on a Gaza flotilla that was attempting to break an Israeli blockade, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The International Criminal Court decided not to prosecute Israel over the incident, and the United Kingdom took steps to prevent judges from acting on activists’ requests to issue warrants.
Still, the Spanish warrant risks dividing the world in the wake of terror attacks in Paris.
In the May 2010 incident, six ships sailed from Turkey, with the support of an Islamist group, the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, that Israel considers a terrorist organization. The flotilla was also backed by Turkey’s ruling Islamist party.
While Israeli naval commandos boarded five of the six ships without incident, they were met with armed resistance on the main ship, the Mavi Marmara, whose passengers fired guns, threw flash grenades, and attacked Israeli commandoes with knives and bars. In the melee, the passengers took Israeli personnel hostage. The Israeli naval commandos eventually fired back, killing nine “activists.”
The incident caused a major international uproar, but Israel contended, and was able to prove, that it had acted within international law.
The purpose of the blockade is to prevent shipments of weapons to Gaza, as well as supposedly “humanitarian” supplies that can be re-purposed for military uses, such as concrete that Palestinian terror groups like Hamas use to build underground tunnels.
Separately, it was reported Tuesday that the South African government had issued arrest warrants for four Israeli generals who were allegedly involved in the Mavi Marmara raid. The claim was publicized by an anti-Israel group based in South Africa. However, the Israeli government denied that any such warrants were issued.
South Africa recently violated its international commitments by failing to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who faces charges of genocide, on his visit to that country.