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Amos Oz Taking Netanyahu to Court over Iran Attack

Novelist among signatories on ultimatum to Netanyahu demanding he bring any attack to cabinet approval.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/14/2012, 10:49 AM

Amos Oz
Amos Oz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Renowned left-wing novelist Amos Oz is among the signatories on a legal ultimatum sent to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, demanding that he state publicly that he will not order an attack against Iran without a receiving the cabinet's approval first.

The signatories include ten writers, among them Yoram Kanyuk and Sami Michael, and three other activists. They are represented by radical left-wing attorney Michael Sfard.

"It is no secret that you and the Defense Minister have been considering, for some time, to launch a military action that is meant to damage the Iranian nuclear infrastructure," the letter states. "It is also no secret that such an action will lead to a military response that will badly damage the Israeli home front, with the minimalists predicting that hundreds of people will be killed."

Such a decision would have grave consequences for the state and its citizens, the letter's writers reason, and it must be taken in a legal manner.

Therefore, the petitioners write, they have been filled "with great concern" in view of Netanyahu's "noisy reluctance" to publicly state that any decision on military action in Iran will be approved by the entire government, as the law requires.

They note that the law does allow "limited military actions required for defense of the public" to be taken without the approval of the full cabinet, but argue that an attack on Iran would not fall into that category.

"Regrettably," they continue, "there are a growing number of indications that you are considering ordering such military actions, without a government decision. If you do so, it will be a serious breach of the law, and no less important, it will be a decision making process that is typical of non-democratic states in which the leader alone decides whether the nation will go to war or not.

"In view of all of the above, we demand that you state publicly that you will not give instructions to take military action against Iran without a government decision," Oz and his cohorts state in bold-faced font. They give Netanyahu until Thursday to do so or face legal action.

Prominent pundit Ben Dror Yemini of Maariv compared the letter to the Oxford Pledge, a resolution carried by students of the Oxford Union in 1933 that "this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country." Yemini predicted that "just as the Oxford pledge only encouraged Mussolini and Hitler, to the letter by Oz and co. will just encourage the ayatollahs."