The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza reported on Thursday
that the Former Israeli Cheif of Staff,  Moshe Ya'alon, had to flee out
of New Zealand this week after an arrest warrant of war crimes was
issued by a New Zealand court after several lawyer contacted the police
to urge Ya'alon's arrest.

The warrant was issued on Tuesday when a resident, in cooperation with local and International Human Rights
Organizations filed an appeal to the court to arrest Ya'alon who was on a private visit to the country.

The appeal depended on an incident that took place in 2002, when Yaalon ordered the army to assassinate a Hamas leader, Salah Shihada, by shelling his house.

The shelling caused excessive damage, and 15 civilians, including several children were killed.

The PCHR stated that he Auckland District Court issued a warrant for Ya'alon's arrest on charges of war crimes stating a "suspicion of committing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949," a criminal offense in New Zealand under the Geneva Conventions Act 1958 and International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000.

The court issued the warrant after several lawyers contacted the police to urge Ya'alon's arrest.

It is worth mentioning that Shaul Mofaz, the former Israeli Minister of Defense, and a senior military officer known as Doron Almog, escaped arrest warrants in the U.K for similar offenses.

The PCHR argues that Ya'alon is responsible for military actions that constitute extensive violations to the principles of Human Rights and are considered war crimes.

The warrant against Ya'alon was cancelled at the last minute by the Local Justice Ministry despite the decision of District Court Judge Avinash Deobhakta, who ordered the arrest of Ya'alon.

Full PCHR report on the issue