Israel slams ‘cynical’ Marmara lawsuit against Barak

Ex-defense minister sued by parents of American living in Turkey who was among 9 killed during 2010 IDF raid on Gaza flotilla

Ehud Barak speaks at the opening of the 'Globes Business Conference', in Tel Aviv on December 08, 2014. (Flash90)
Ehud Barak speaks at the opening of the 'Globes Business Conference', in Tel Aviv on December 08, 2014. (Flash90)

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a US lawsuit against former defense minister Ehud Barak over a 2010 raid on a Gaza flotilla as another attempt at a “cynical attack” on Israel using legal means.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said he was certain that the US “would not lend its hand” to the lawsuit, Israel Radio reported.

The parents of one of the nine people killed when Israeli troops clashed with passengers on board the Mavi Marmara ship served a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles on Wednesday against Barak, who was defense minister at the time.

The lawsuit says that Furkan Dogan, an American national who was a resident of Turkey, was shot five times, including in the head from a short range. The family are claiming unlawful death and torture.

The papers for the lawsuit were handed to one of Barak’s security guards during his current visit to the US, Israel Radio said.

The attorneys for Dogan’s family called the former defense minister a “war criminal” and said the family deserves justice.

The Israel Defense Forces said its soldiers acted in self-defense after they were attacked with lethal weapons as they tried to board the boat. Several soldiers were seriously wounded in the clash.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation and provoked a major diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey. A UN panel that reviewed the case determined that Israel’s raid was “excessive and unreasonable” but also laid blame on Turkey.

“On board the Mavi Marmara, Israeli forces extinguished the life of a 19-year-old boy holding a video camera,” said Hakan Camuz, a representative of Dogan’s family.

“He was shot five times. The last shot was to his head at point blank range. He deserves justice.”

The human rights lawyers who filed the suit against Barak have also been pushing the Hague-based International Criminal Court to investigate the incident.

“From Nuremberg and Tokyo to the Balkans, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, there is a tradition around the world of holding military leaders accountable for their crimes against civilians,” said the family’s attorney, Rodney Dixon.

“Casting that tradition aside mocks justice and gives political and military leaders free reign to wield violence indiscriminately,” he said.

Several similar flotillas have tried breaching Israel’s naval siege on Gaza since the Mavi Marmara, but their members have never tried to attack IDF soldiers as did the Mavi Marmara activists, and Israel intercepted them with no incident.

Activists on the 'Mavi Marmara' preparing to attack IDF soldiers (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)
Activists on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ preparing to attack IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

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