Thursday, January 29, 2009

Israelis Named in Spain's War Crimes Probe for 2002 Assassination Dismiss Charges as "Ludicrous"

Haaretz, January 29, 2009 - [Israeli] National Infrastructures Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer blasted as "ludicrous" a decision by a Spanish judge to open a probe against him and six seven other current or former Israeli officials over a 2002 bombing in Gaza.

"This is a ludicrous and outrageous decision. Terrorist organizations are using the courts of the free world and the methods of democratic states to prosecute a state that works against terror," said Ben-Eliezer, who was defense minister at the time of the assassination.

The bombing in Gaza killed a senior Hamas militant and 14 other people, including nine children.

Judge Fernando Andreu said the attack by Israel, which targeted militant Salah Shehadeh in a densely populated civilian area, might constitute a crime against humanity.

"I am not sorry for my decision," said Ben-Eliezer. "Salah Shehadeh carried out the harshest attacks against our citizens. I say this explicitly: If we had not have killed him, he would have continued to perpetrate attacks to kill more Israelis."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier Thursdsay lambasted Andreu's decision as "hallucinatory."

"Whoever calls the assassination of a terrorist a 'crime against humanity' is living in an upside-down world," said Barak, in a statement released by his ministry.....

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