The Spanish Office of the Public Prosecutor informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry yesterday it had submitted a request to a Spanish judge asking him to dismiss a legal complaint against certain high-ranking Israeli officials.

The prosecutor’s office asked Hon. Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles, the investigating magistrate, to dismiss the complaint, which was lodged in connection with the Israeli Air Force’s bombing of a house containing a Hamas leader and 14 bystanders. Everyone inside the house was killed. The incident has commonly been referred to as the “Shehadeh matter.”

In a detailed 28-page submission to the court, the Spanish prosecutor’s office analyzed the legal and factual situation in the case and determined Spanish courts lacked proper jurisdiction to try the case. The decision was made on the basis of Spanish and international law and because “the State of Israel is a democratic state with an independent judiciary, which has primary jurisdiction over the incident, and which is currently investigating the matter in its own legal system.”

Because Israel currently has the case under legal review, the Spanish prosecutor found Israel “is in accordance with and above the international minimum standards required to a State that applies the Rule of Law.”

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The Spanish case was said to be the first of many cases where Israel critics abroad are turning to their local courts to demand that Israeli officers be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”

At least five cases are now pending in British courts against Israeli army officers who hesitate to visit Great Britain on official or private sojourns, for fear of arrest on British soil.

Although the Israelis have been spared a trial in Spain, the Spanish legal theory of universal jurisdiction, however, has not let six former Bush administration off the hook. A Spanish judge currently is reviewing charges against David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith and William Haynes II – all former Bush administration officials – in connection with the waterboarding of al-Qaida mastermind Abu Zubaidah.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.