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Home Archive 17/September/2019 01:38 PM

Dutch Palestinian takes Israeli generals to court over killing of his family members


THE HAGUE, Tuesday, September 17, 2019 (WAFA) - A Dutch court in The Hague is holding a hearing today to consider the admissibility of a lawsuit filed by Ismail Ziada, a Dutch-Palestinian, against former Israeli army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and former Air Force Commander Amir Eichel for their responsibility in shelling his family home in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of six members of his family, according to a press release by the Palestine Justice Campaign, an international group working to assist the Ziada family in their pursuit for justice.

It said Ziada, who holds Dutch citizenship, asserts that he cannot get justice from the Israeli judiciary as a result of discriminatory practices faced by Palestinians in their quest to hold Israeli war criminals accountable. The lawsuit was therefore filed under Dutch law, which upholds the principle of universal jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving Dutch citizens who are unable to get justice elsewhere.

On Sunday, July 20, 2014, the Israel air force bombed the Ziada family home in al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip resulting in the death of Ziada‘s 70-year-old mother, three of his brothers, the wife of one of his brothers, his 12-year-old nephew, and a visitor who happened to be in the Ziada house at the time of the attack. Ismail Ziada asserts that the attack on the family home is a flagrant violation of the rules of international humanitarian law and internationally recognized human rights principles.

This case is unique in that it is the first time that a Palestinian seeking justice has been able to bring a civil war crimes case on the basis of international jurisdiction, said the press release.

Ziada is represented in this case by the well-known Dutch lawyer in the field of human rights issues, Liesbeth Zegveld, who stated that the bombing of residential houses was disproportionate and done without taking the necessary precautions, and reflected a pattern of actions taken by senior Israeli officials during the last military aggression on the Gaza Strip — therefore, these actions are to be classified as war crimes.

Reports said that Gantz, who is competing today in the Israeli elections and could be the next prime minister of Israel, and Eichel have asked the court to dismiss the case once and for all. Their lawyers claimed that, as officials in Israel, they could claim immunity unless they acted with intent to cause harm or disregard the possibility of harm.


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