Benjamin Netanyahu: Spanish Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Israeli Prime Minister, Reports Say

An arrest warrant concerning the 2010 attack on the Gaza-bound aid ship Mavi Marmara was issued last week against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven current and former government officials, news outlets reported Monday.

Netanyahu could be arrested if he sets foot on Spanish soil.

Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, former defense minister Ehud Barak, former interior minister Eli Yishai, former intelligence minister Dan Meridor, current defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, minister Bennie Begin and former head of the Navy Eliezer Marom were also named in the warrants filed by Judge Jose de la Mata of Spain’s National Court, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“We consider it to be a provocation"

— Emmanuel Nachschon, foreign ministry spokesperson

“We consider it to be a provocation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachschon said, according to the Post. “We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it canceled. We hope it will be over soon.”

The warrants stem from a May 31, 2010 incident that left 10 Turkish anti-Israel activists dead. The activists, some of whom were reportedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, were trying to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Most ships attempting to stop the blockade were stopped without incident, but some of the activists on the Mavi Marmara attacked Israeli Navy commandos boarding the ship. The Israeli government said it acted in self-defense in the deadly episode.

Three Spanish citizens aboard the Marmara sued Israel in 2010 but the court then said it had no authority to prosecute foreign nations for alleged crimes committed outside of Spanish borders, according to the Times of Israel. Judge De La Mata, however, appears to have found a legal loophole to relaunch the case.