Israel seeks int’l pressure on flotilla raid indictment
Israel’s military chief of staff Ashkenazi (C) sits before testifying in front of a state-appointed inquiry committee into the Israeli naval raid on Mavi Marmara in this 2010 photo.On the same day a Turkish court formally pressed charges against members of Israel’s military for the killing of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010, the Israeli deputy foreign minister said Israel expects foreign diplomatic pressure on Turkey to prevent it trying four Israeli commanders.
“I imagine that diplomatic pressure will be put on Turkey to withdraw this action ... foreign, not Israeli,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told state-run Channel One TV on May 28. A court in Istanbul voted unanimously on May 28 to approve an indictment against Israel’s former military chief, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the heads of its Navy, Air Force and military intelligence. It has said they face nine consecutive life terms in prison for inciting to kill monstrously and by torturing. “This could have wide-ranging implications for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere,” Ayalon said, according to Agence France-Presse. “For years American and other Western forces have been boarding ships suspected either of terror activity or carrying radioactive materials, so the implications are such that I imagine there will be diplomatic pressure on Turkey,” he added.
Weighing extradition danger
Ayalon also said that the Foreign Ministry’s legal department is checking the possibility that the commanders could be arrested if they enter countries who have extradition agreements with Turkey. Ayalon said that he was doubtful that the indictment would endanger the freedom of the former Israeli commanders in other countries. “They probably cannot visit Turkey, but I believe they can visit other countries. This seems more of a political step than a legal step,” he said, according to Jerusalem Post.
Ashkenazi also reacted to the indictment. “If the price for standing my ground is not visiting Turkey, I’ll pay the price … Israel’s relationship with Turkey is important as both countries have common interests, which include maintaining stability in the Middle East. I’m sure that eventually common sense will prevail,” Ynet website quoted him as saying.
“From the moment the affair broke out, I chose to stand up in every forum, often alone, to defend the IDF soldiers who performed their duty on the field for the Israeli nation,” the former chief of staff noted.
ISRAELI TO TAKE MEDAL OF HONOR
Israeli mountaineer Nadav Ben-Yahuda will receive Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor for his rescue of a Turkish climber after abondaning his climb to the summit of Mount Everest, 300 meters away from the peak, according to Ynet website. The 24-year-old climber reportedly tried to convince authorities not to award him the medal as he does not believe his actions were important enough to justify receiving the award. He abandoned his climb to the summit of Mount Everest, 300 meters away from the peak, in order to help an injured Turkish climber, Aydın Irmak.