A Rare Appearance / Israeli Jurists in Ankara Discuss Terror

An unusual jurists' conference on terrorism ended yesterday in Ankara, attended by two Israeli prosecutors. The Israelis' participation comes against the backdrop of the tension between Israel and Turkey following last year's confrontation over the Turkish flotilla to Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodogan said he would visit Gaza if Israel did not apologize over the incident.

The conference, organized by the UN Security Council, was sponsored by the Turkish government and held under a shroud of secrecy and heavy security. For Israel's part, the secrecy was an effort to ensure the safety of its delegates and to head off any pretext for canceling the Israelis' invitation.

The two Israeli prosecutors, Rachel Matar of the State Prosecutor's Office and Hadas Rozenberg-Shainert of the Haifa District Prosecutor's Office, were heavily guarded, though they did not take along Israeli security guards. Some of the European prosecutors at the gathering came with their own security.

Rozenberg-Shainert has been involved in a number of security cases in recent years, including the case against an accomplice to a 2005 suicide bombing in a Hadera market. Matar's cases have included the Supreme Court proceedings against Tali Fahima, who was convicted of maintaining contacts with the head of the Jenin branch of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.

The delegates to the conference included an Indian prosecutor dealing with the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, as well as prosecutors from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Although this was the second such conference convened by the UN Security Council, it's the first time Israelis have been invited.