Spain ‘issues arrest warrant’ for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over 2010 Gaza flotilla attack

‘We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled’ 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven other former and current government officials are at risk of arrest if they set foot in Spain, after a Spanish judge effectively issued an arrest warrant for the group, it has been reported.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, Spanish national court judge Jose de la Mata ordered the police and civil guard to notify him if Mr Netanyahu and the six other individuals enter the country, as their actions could see a case against them regarding the Freedom Flotilla attack of 2010 reopened.

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Palestinians wave their national flag as they ride boats during a rally in support of activists aboard a Pro-Gaza flotilla made up of four boats aimed at defying Israel's blockade of Gaza, at the seaport of Gaza City

 The other men named in the issue are former defence minister Ehud Barak, former foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman, former minister of strategic affairs Moshe Yaalon, former interior minister Eli Yishai, minister without portfolio Benny Begin and vice admiral maron Eliezer, who was in charge of the operation.

The case – which was put on hold by Judge de la Mata last year – was brought against the men following an attack by Israeli security forces against the Freedom Flotilla aid ships in 2010, which was trying to reach Gaza.

It concerns the Mavi Marmara ship, the main civilian vessel in a fleet of six that were attempting to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The six ships were carrying around 500 passengers, humanitarian aid and construction materials. The Israeli Defence Force stormed the ship in a raid that left nine human rights activists dead. A tenth activist died later that month due to wounds sustained in the raid.

Palestinian shot dead in Gaza

The Israeli Prime Minister and other officials now face charges in the case, should it be reopened.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon told the Jerusalem Post: “We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled. We hope it will be over soon.”