Israel Has Strong Claims Against Saddam

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that Israel should join the prosecution against Saddam Hussein.

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He mentioned in this connection Iraq's Scud missile attacks on Israel in 1991, as well as the Saddam regime's support for Palestinian suicide bombings. During the three years of the PA-initiated Oslo War, Hussein sent millions of dollars to the PA-controlled territories, including $25,000 to the family of each suicide bomber and a more modest $10,000 for each Arab killed otherwise in fighting with Israelis.

Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid also said today that Israel must participate in the preparations for the prosecution of Saddam Hussein. "Next to his invasion of Kuwait," Lapid said today, "the [39] Scud missiles that he launched against Israel [in 1991] are the worst thing that he did." Lapid said that it doesn't matter where the trial is held: "Even if it's in Baghdad, we must send our witnesses."

"Firing missiles without provocation at a country that was not involved in the war," the Justice Minister said, "is a war crime according to any definition of international law. Saddam must not be vindicated from this crime."

It has been reported in the past that Israel sought over $1 billion from Iraq in compensation for damages caused by the Gulf War Scud missiles. This sum would include $103 million for material damages, and $903 million for increased defense costs.