South African Police Deny Issuing Arrest Warrants for Israeli Generals

BDS South Africa acknowledges its original statement was wrong; says warrants issued by Turkey.

People, holding Turkish and Palestinian flags, cheering as the Mavi Marmara ship returns in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.
People, holding Turkish and Palestinian flags, cheering as the Mavi Marmara ship returns in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.Credit: AP

South African police denied on Tuesday that they had issued arrest warrants for four former Israel Defense Forces generals in connection with the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

The denial followed a statement earlier on Tuesday by the anti-Israel
group BDS South Africa and the Muslim media organization Media Review Network (MRN) that warrants had been issued for former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former navy head Eliezer Marom, former head of
military intelligence Amos Yadlin and former air force intelligence
chief Avishai Levy.

"There is no truth to this,” said National police spokesman‚ Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. “No arrest warrants have been issued for any of the people mentioned. We have checked with Interpol and our Crimes Against The State officials and they deny any such thing."

The original statement was reported by Haaretz.

MRN subsequently retracted its earlier statement, saying that the warrants had in fact been issued by the Turkish authorities and not by the South African police.

“South African authorities have confirmed in writing to [Gadija] Davids that they have received the Turkish warrants of arrest against the Israeli commanders and have accordingly circulated the suspects on the South African Border Control system on 3 September 2015,” MRN said in a revised statement.

Al-Jazeera reported on Monday that a Turkish court had issued arrest warrants against the four officers and asked Interpol to issue international arrest warrants for them.

Davis was on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara when it attempted to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. Nine of the passengers were killed and a tenth died in hospital this year after IDF troops raided the ship to prevent it from docking in Gaza.

Davids subsequently laid a complaint against Israel with the South African police, which found in 2012 that the case met the necessary jurisdictional requirements and that reasonable grounds existed to investigate alleged crimes committed during the Israeli takeover of the Mavi Marmara.

However, no action is known to have been taken since that finding.

Late last week, a judge in Spain issued arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven other former and current officials over the Mavi Marmara raid, according to media reports.

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during a 2010 school visit. His lawyers will claim he acted reasonably.Credit: Alon Ron

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