Ya'alon leaves New Zealand in wake of arrest warrant for war crimes
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Lieutenant General (res.) Moshe
Ya'alon left New Zealand this week, after a warrant was issued for his arrest
for suspected war crimes.
The New Zealand Justice Ministry issued the warrant on Tuesday, several days
after a request by a New Zealand resident that was co-signed by various local
and international human rights organizations.
The warrant names Ya'alon for ordering an Israel Air Force attack on the home
of Hamas official Salah Shehada in the Gaza Strip in 2002. The attack, which
killed Shahada and one of his aides, also caused the deaths of 13 civilians.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Major General (res.) Doron Almog have
evaded similar charges in Britain over the past two years.
Officials at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said they had received
confirmation from the embassy in New Zealand regarding the dropped charges.
Ya'alon was not available for comment.
Diplomatic ties between Israel and New Zealand have been rocky in recent
years. In 2004, two members of Israel's Mossad espionage agency were
imprisoned in the country for illegally trying to obtain New Zealand
Wellington suspended ties with Israel in the wake of the affair, but restored
relations after Jerusalem offered a formal apology.
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