Spain lifts war criminal designation from Netanyahu, 6 other Israeli officials

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Spanish judges responsible for international affairs canceled the registration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a war crimes suspect, which they said was a jurisdictional error.

The El Diario daily reported  on the recent ruling by two judges of Spain’s National Court on Netanyahu and six other Israelis, whom a judge from the same court last month flagged to police as persons of interest in connection with a complaint over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

Israeli troops killed nine people aboard the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship after its passengers attacked soldiers who boarded the vessel to prevent it from reaching the Hamas-held enclave in defiance of Israel’s blockade on the territory. Three of the boat’s passengers, who were not killed, were Spanish.

In November, Justice José de la Mata ordered police to add to its registry of people of interest Netanyahu and six other Israeli politicians: Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Ya’alon, Eli Yishai, Benny Begin and Eliezer Marom. Police were to inform de la Mata of the arrival in Spanish jurisdiction of any of the seven flagged. De la Mata would then have had the authority to detain, arrest or charge them.

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But in an announcement to police, a two-man National Court panel whose authority supersedes de la Mata’s ordered the Israelis be de-registered.

“The 2nd section of Penal Court found the judge adopted this measure without jurisdiction as the issue had been closed last June,” ACOM, a pro-Israel Spanish group based in Madrid, wrote in a statement Saturday after reviewing the panel’s ruling.

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