Pulling the Strings
Ma’ariv (p. 2) by Maya Bengal and Amit Cohen
The sense of embarrassment felt by Britain’s top political echelon following the arrest warrant issued against former Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni may yet intensify due to the following information: Hamas, which is included in the European Union’s list of terror organizations, is the one behind the affair.
It has now been revealed that in the wake of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas in Gaza formed a well organized mechanism which consisted of a quantity of teams and hundreds of operatives. These teams are charged with amassing “criminal information” to be used as the basis for requests for arrest warrant for senior Israeli officials, politicians and IDF officers throughout Europe.
Ismail Haniya himself is behind the initiative, which is being conducted by what Hamas refers to as “the central committee for the documentation of Israeli war criminals.” The committee’s mission is clear: to harm Israel’s world image and standing by depicting it as a country implicated in war crimes.
The committee’s activities were accelerated and received a significant boost after the Goldstone report was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The committee was able to establish contacts with dozens of lawyers in all the European states. The lawyers go into action each time an Israeli senior official arrives in a European country in which they are operating. The “incrimination file” formed by Hamas on the respective senior official is then dispatched to them, and from there it is sent directly to the court with a request for an arrest warrant.
The committee was established on January 21, under the direction of Judge Diya Al-Din Madhoun. The person directly in charge of the committee is Faraj Al-Ghul, Hamas’s justice minister. From the moment of its inception, the committee began assembling data and opening files on IDF’s action in the course of Operation Cast Lead.
The committee concluded its work last April: it consolidated some 700 files, which included some 1,500 war crimes, as Hamas defines them. Subsequently Madhoun met with senior Hamas officials and members of parliament, and they made clear to him that it was necessary to break out of the “cycle of documentation” and begin filing lawsuits in international courts.
Following the arrest warrant issued for Tzippi Livni, Madhoun admitted that he and his men were behind the initiative. “At the beginning of the month the committee discovered that that Livni would be visiting the United Kingdom,” Madhoun told Palestinian media outlets. “Following this we submitted a lawsuit to a British court, with the help of a group of British attorneys. The attorneys acted immediately, and requested that an arrest warrant be issued for her.” He said that, “at 1:00 AM, London time, the court issued an arrest warrant and gave an implementation order to all police precincts, but later it became clear that Livni was not in the United Kingdom.” Madhoun insists that Livni was in the United Kingdom but had had time to escape.
Madhoun noted that Palestinian efforts were focused on three figures: Ehud Olmert, Tzippi Livni and Ehud Barak. That said, he predicted that every senior Israeli official will have to think twice before traveling to Europe. “The committee has been following the visits of every Israeli official in any given country, where he may be brought to trial,” he added.
The committee is the only official body working on this matter in Gaza. It coordinates its legal efforts against Israeli officials with various organization around the world. Israel claims that international human rights organizations are also knowingly assisting Hamas. The committee is composed of several sub-committees. One with great importance is the “unit for legal efforts and international cooperation.” This unit is responsible for contacting international and local judicial organizations, coordinating the legal efforts to be conducted through them, and preparing the strategy as well as the prosecution of Israeli officials. In order to monitor and administrator the lawsuits overseas the committee establishes foreign legal teams, who appear before international courts.
In response to the revelation of this mechanism, a senior Foreign Ministry source was outraged and referred to the initiative as “the legal institutionalization of terrorism.”