Dutch high court blocks lawsuit over Gaza air-strike

Ziada family

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands affirmed on Aug. 25 that Palestinians are precluded from bringing legal action against Israeli military officers for their involvement in a deadly air-strike on the Gaza Strip in 2014. The high court upheld the decisions of lower court judges, ruling that former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz and former Israeli Air Force commander Amir Eshel are shielded from prosecution in the Netherlands due to their immunity status. The court ruled that this places them above legal reproach, regardless of the seriousness or nature of the alleged actions.

The case was initiated by former Gaza resident Ismail Ziada, who charged that he lost his mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law and a nephew in the July 2014 air-strike. In his suit, Ziada sought compensation under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which permits the pursuit of legal action for grave crimes committed in other countries.

Ziada’s legal team argued that the men should not be granted immunity as their actions were tantamount to war crimes. He┬áis now contemplating┬árecourse to the European Court of Human Rights following this unfavorable outcome.

Israel’s Ministry of Justice conveyed to the Dutch court that an internal military investigation had established the death of four Palestinians due to the air-strike.┬áThe 2014 bombing campaign, known as Operation “Protective Edge,” resulted in the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, the majority of whom were civilians, and 74 Israelis, most of whom were soldiers.

From Jurist, Aug. 26. Used with permission.

Image:  Ismail Ziada