The Israeli government has issued a stinging rebuke of an announcement by Spanish prosecutors that they intend to sue senior Israeli military officers in connection with the 2002 assassination of terrorist leader Salah Shehade.
Mr. Yossi Avni-Levy, a spokesman for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “[F]iling a suit in Spain by the Palestinian Human Rights Center constitutes a cynical move and another attempt to exploit the Spanish legal system in order to promote a political initiative against Israel. Israel is confident that the government of Spain and its legal system will take all means so that this political initiative should not succeed.”
One of the prospective defendants was unmoved by the Spanish judge’s decision.
“I don’t know either the judge or his motives, but I know Shehade well. His assassination was one of the most important events in the war on terror,” said Knesset member Avi Dichter, one of the prospective defendants. “I regret that the judge failed to draw a distinction between crimes against humanity and a war on terrorism. Spain suffered from terrorism in 2004 in the attacks on the trains, so that this subject shouldn’t have been foreign to them. To call an attack on a terrorist who wanted to murder hundreds of people a crime against humanity is insanity.”
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