Barak Cancels Trip to France after Threat of Lawsuit over Flotilla Raid
Sunday June 13, 2010 20:01 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak canceled a trip to an arms trading fair in France after French passengers of the Freedom Flotilla attacked two weeks ago said they plan to file a lawsuit against the state of Israel for war crimes.
Ehud Barak (photo from paltelegraph.com)
The French humanitarian aid activists said they will file the lawsuit against Israel in the International Court of Justice in the Hague for the actions of Israeli forces which boarded and attacked ships in international waters on a humanitarian aid mission, killing nine. They demanded that French police have Barak arrested at the airport upon his arrival in the country.
A spokesperson for the French activists, Lillian Glock, told reporters, "I speak on behalf of a group of international lawyers who will go to the International Court of Justice on the Israeli attack on the aid ships what constitutes without doubt a war crime and justifies our move in the International Court of Justice."
Glock added, “Israel needs to stop this bloody escalation and the only solution is international law. We want to stop Israel and punish the leaders who participated in this process. Our move is aimed at specific persons, mainly leaders, as well as those who carried out the orders, because it is not possible to hide behind a chain of command. The peace activists who were transporting essential goods to Gaza are protected under UN Security Council Resolution 1860 condemning the blockade, and therefore these activists did not violate the law”.
Originally Barak had refused calls to cancel his trip to France, during which he was scheduled to open a new 'Israeli booth' at the Eurosatory arms fair in Paris, which opens this week. The arms fair itself has come under fire by peace activists in Europe as the showcase event of the 'Merchants of Death', as they term international weapons dealers. Several years ago, peace activists bought a tank and attempted to drive it into the fair to disrupt the event, and security has been increased significantly since then. A Fox News report on the arms fair two years ago claimed that the Israeli booth boasted the most scantily-clad women carrying weaponry that Israeli arms companies and the Israeli government hoped to sell in the international market.
In his last trip to Paris, Ehud Barak was criticized by the Israeli state comptroller for his extravagant expenses at the Paris Air Show in 2009. According to expense reports of the trip, Barak booked one of the most expensive hotels in Paris, and one-third of the rooms booked were not used. The State Comptroller's report found that $254,000 was spent on empty rooms and other entirely superfluous expenses.