Ahead of Peres Visit to South Africa, Muslim Lawyers Association Seeks Former Israeli President’s Arrest
Muslim lawyers in South Africa have requested that an Israeli dignitary be arrested upon arrival in the country this weekend, the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reported on Wednesday.
Former President Shimon Peres, who is scheduled to attend a fundraiser hosted by the Israel United Appeal and the United Communal Fund, is the object of the request.
“We have launched a complaint with the South African Police Services, the Hawks [specialized police services] and the National Prosecution Authority to arrest Peres for war crimes and crimes against humanity,’’ attorney Yousha Tayob of the South African Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) told AA on Wednesday.
Tayob was referring to Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996, a 16-day war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, during which Israel – whose prime minister at the time was Peres — conducted more than 1,000 air raids and heavy shelling.
“Peres violated many laws that protect the right to life,” Tayob, told AA. “He breached many international laws.”
It was also in 1996 that the now 92-year-old founded the Peres Center for Peace, described on its website as “ Israel’s leading organization promoting peacebuilding between Israel and its neighbors (particularly between Israelis and Palestinians) as well as between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.”
Two years earlier, Peres had won the Nobel Peace Prize, together with assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chief Yasser Arafat, for the negotiations with the Palestinians that resulted in the Oslo Accords, which gave birth to the Palestinian Authority, today led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
But, according to AA, Peres is not alone in being targeted by the MLA. In June, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in the group’s crosshairs for “committing crimes against humanity” during the period following the ouster of his predecessor, President Mohammed Morsi, in 2013. Al-Sisi, said AA, canceled his plans to participate in the African Union Summit as a result of the MLA request for his arrest.
Though so far South African authorities have not responded to the MLA demand for Peres’ arrest, Tayob told the AA, “We’ve given the prosecution authority sufficient evidence to prove that Peres committed these crimes.”