French activists who took part in the Gaza-bound flotilla
were expected to declare Friday that they would be filing a legal claim against Defense Minister Ehud Barak
with the courts in France and with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Barak is expected to leave for France on Sunday on a two-day official visit, during which he will inaugurate the Israeli stand at a military exhibition and meet with the French foreign and defense ministers.
The plaintiffs said they were being helped by three French parliament members.
State officials clarified that Barak would not cancel his plans and that the Foreign Ministry's legal department, together with additional elements in the justice system, were working to provide legal protection should the French activists file the lawsuit.
Anti-Barak protest several months ago (Photo: AFP)
The Gaza flotilla events have joined a series of other incidents which led to a wave of legal claims filed by pro-Palestinian elements in Europe against senior Israeli public figures and defense officials, including Operation Cast Lead
and the assassination of senior Hamas
member Salah Shehade.
The flotilla activists plan to officially declare the legal move in a press conference scheduled to be held at the National Assembly in Paris. The three parliament members who joined the initiative are expected to deliver speeches and file the lawsuit with the Marseilles court.
The state officials noted that although there were no plans to call off the visit, they were not worried that Barak would be arrested but were preparing to tighten the security measures around him for fear that he would be greeted with anti-Israel protests and riots.
The organizations behind the initiative are the International Civil Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People (CCIPPP) and the Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP).
Their members explained that they decided to sue Barak because "he is the official responsible for the attack on the flotilla."
The defense minister's media advisor, Barak Seri, told Ynet he would not be comment on the matter.