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Takeover of Marmara ship last week Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Takeover of Marmara ship last week Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Rafah crossing, to remain open Photo: AP
Rafah crossing, to remain open Photo: AP
Moussa, to visit Gaza Photo: AFP
Moussa, to visit Gaza Photo: AFP

Hamas, Turkey to work to sue Israel

Justice ministers of Hamas, Turkey, agree to work together to prosecute Israeli officers involved in deadly raid on Gaza flotilla. Meanwhile, Arab League chief to visit Strip next week

Roee Nahmias
Published: 06.10.10, 15:15 / Israel News

Hamas Justice Minister Faraj al-Ghoul spoke with his Turkish counterpart Sadullah Ergin over the phone on Wednesday, and the two decided at the end of the conversation to work together on the legal plane to file lawsuits against Israeli officers who took part in the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla's Mavi Marmara ship last week.


London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that the two agreed on a series of legal measures to take  against the Israeli officers.

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During their conversation, the Hamas minister said, "Extensive legal measures must be taken in order to operate against the occupation's commanders in the international courts."


A statement published by the Hamas government on Wednesday said the Turkish justice minister had stressed that his country is determined to continue supporting and identifying with the residents of the Gaza Strip, and that Turkey is willing to pay the price that comes with this support.


"We are certain that if all the Arab and Muslim countries stand side-by-side against the injustice, it will be terminated swiftly. This is a responsibility we inherited from our ancestors and it compels us to remove the unjust siege from Gaza," Ergin said.


"Turkey is ready to cooperate to reveal Israel's outrageous crimes against humanity," he added.


Ergin went on to say that his ministry would work in the frame of the United Nations to have the recommendations of the Goldstone Report implemented.


"We must stay in contact to file legal claims with international courts and penalize the Israeli occupation for its recent crime," he said.


According to reports in Turkish media, the first lawsuit in planning is a petition for compensation for the families of those killed and injured in the raid. The second suit to be filed will be for the violation of the charter on maritime operations in international waters.


If they decided to move forward with the claims, the suits will be filed with the International Criminal Court at The Hague and at the court of arbitration in Washington.


Preparations for Arab League chief's visit

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Amr Moussa's assistant arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to prepare for Moussa's visit next week. Sources in the Strip said the assistant, Hisham Youssef arrived via Rafah crossing with an Egyptian security convoy.


He is slated to meet with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and other officials in the Strip.


Moussa announced at the Arab League's emergency meeting called after the flotilla raid, that he plans to visit Gaza as part of the league's decision to break the siege on the Strip.


Egypt announced this week that it is opening the crossing that has been closed for the past three years. "Egypt is the one that is breaking the siege. We will not let the occupation forces shirk responsibility."


Hamas elements believe this is another step towards loosening the blockade and the recognition of the government in Gaza. However, Moussa had discussed his decision with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and received his blessing before informing Hamas.


Sources in the Strip believe Moussa's visit will lead to a series of international visits that will weaken isolation and the siege Gaza and the Hamas government have been under.


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