Press Releases 

Spain - don't change war crimes law!

European Jews For Just Peace Letter to Miguel A. Moratinos Foreign Minister of Spain (and former Middle East Mediator)

Your Excellency,

Allow us to compliment the judicial system of your country, judges Baltasar Garzón, the legal process for the extradition of General Agusto Pinochet, and Fernando Andreu who initiated the proposed investigation against former Israeli officers and officials who may be responsible for the murder of 14 civilians in Gaza in 2002.

We note with respect that Spain has resisted the temptations to change its laws and human principles following the terrible massacre at the Atocha railway station in Madrid in 2004 where almost 200 citizens were killed by Terrorists. We would greatly appreciate if Spain were to remain dedicated to this daunting and unwavering principled position.

We, European Jews who belong to a group which suffered, together with our Arab brethren, the horrors of the Inquisition, have come to respect greatly the Spain which emerged after Franco, as a society in which justice reigns supreme.

We European Jews -- whose common cause is the search of a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians -- ask you not to yield to Israeli pressures to change or quash the law which entitles Spain to bring some justice to the victims, and thus help hinder future crimes against humanity.

Justice is of particular importance at this moment, when the misery inflicted on the Palestinian citizens of Gaza is extremely harsh and when the UN and the EU are protesting against the horrors inflicted on civilians, in Palestine and Israel.

Therefore, we ask you to re-consider, and abstain from suggesting or forcing any changes that could weaken the Spanish legal system. We hope that Spain would continue to be a shining example of humanism, indeed, a light unto the nations, by continuing to apply the full force of the law, in order to bring justice and redress to the victims, instead of relief to potential war criminals.

Every potential criminal should stand to trial. Recalling that this is particularly important since Israel has not sign the IV Geneva Convention or the Rome Humanitarian Law.

Recalling that Israel continues to enforce an unprecedented SIEGE on 1.5 million civilians, and hinders delivery even of a French desalination plant, while continuing to apply its Dahia Doctrine on Gaza [as formulated by generals Giora Eiland, Siboni and Eisenkot and applied by Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Eshkenazi], Spain would give Israel the wrong signal if it were to change its laws in order to accommodate Israeli pressures.

Recalling that the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, who a very moderate person, called Israel`s attacks on Gaza Appalling and especially troubling and heartbreaking for me as secretary-general that I couldn`t end this faster.

Recalling that the instruments which the international community has at its disposal to enforce international law are few but that paramount among them is the tenet that if human rights are to be seen as universal, and are to be concretely realized and not just recognized on paper then their jurisdiction is just as universal.

We ask you not to act to weaken those any further. We write because we were concerned to read in today`s newspapers that La Moncloa dice que se estudian `ajustes procesales que no afectarían a este caso.` This is a worringly vague statement and we would be pleased if you could clarify it for us. For the sake of humanity, please do not weaken the law any further.

Highly esteemed Minister Moratinos, help us enforce the aspirations that we share with you! We remain at your disposal should there be anything which you wish to ask of us.

Con Saludos de Paz, Amistad y Justicia,

Dror Feiler Chairman of EJJP - Eurppean Jews for a Just Peace (