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Gaza Flotilla sailors file suit against Israel in Spanish court

MADRID (WJC)–Three Spanish activists – two of which were aboard the controversial Gaza-bound aid flotilla raided by the Israeli Navy at the end of May – have filed a lawsuit in a Madrid court against Israel for alleged crimes against humanity.

The 83-page document takes aim at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, six senior Cabinet ministers and the chief of the Israel Navy, whose commandos stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on 31 May. Nine activists were killed when they attacked Israeli soldiers with knives and clubs.

The Spanish activists told a newspaper that Israel had arrested them illegally and deported them by force, after subjecting them to hardships during the raid. In their suit, they allege that “the entire operation was well planned by the Israeli army in order to kill as many activists as possible, while they were only trying to help Gaza’s residents.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in response that the lawsuit was “a continuation of the provocation in other means.” In a statement, it declared: “Israel’s actions are legal and in accordance with international law. Just like the flotilla organizers did not have humanitarian aid in mind, but only used it as an excuse for provocation and violence, the people filing the lawsuit are not really interested in law and justice, but are using them as a tool against Israel.”

IDF Major-General Giora Eiland, who headed a military commission charged with conducting an internal investigation of the flotilla raid, said it would have been possible to prevent the deaths by political means. In an interview, he said: “Three months before the flotilla there were many courses of action which could have prevented it.” Eiland suggested that Israel “could have opened the Gaza crossings in advance, before the Turkish flotilla.

Meanwhile, Israel has urged Lebanon and the international community to prevent two ships from sailing to the Gaza Strip from a Lebanese port, warning that efforts to break the sea blockade of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory would be stopped. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, accused organizers of the aid ships Junia and Julia of “seeking to incite a confrontation and raise tensions in our region.”

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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