Dutch Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Israeli War Crimes

Published December 9th, 2021 - 11:52 GMT
Ismail Ziada, (4th From L), with supporters outside Hague court
Ismail Ziada, (4th From L), with supporters outside Hague court on 7 December. (Courtesy Adri Nieuwhof)
Highlights
The biggest story this week must be that of the appeals court in the Netherlands who literally threw out a lawsuit filed by a Dutch-Palestinian against Benny Gantz

ALBAWABA - Its all over the social media. Everyone is talking about it. The comments are not yet filtering through but many websites are talking about the news and posting on the social networks because of the enormity of what just happened.

The biggest story this week must be that of the appeals court in the Netherlands who literally threw out a lawsuit filed by a Dutch-Palestinian against Benny Gantz, the current Israeli deputy prime minister and defence minister. Ismail Zaida has been seeking to sue Gantz and Emir Eshel for the murder of his six-member family during the 2014 Israel War on Gaza. 

At the time Gantz was the Israeli military chief of staff while Eshel was the airforce commander and responsible for the war on the Gaza Strip that had been under Israeli siege since 2007. 

The Dutch appeals court ruled it couldn't prosecute Gantz and Eshel because of what the three-man judges termed as "functional immunity" and the fact they were working for another state, which is Israel.

But what does that really mean for Zaida. He sought justice for his family -  his 70-year-old mother Muftia, his brothers Jamil, Yousif and Omar, sister-in-law Bayan, his 12-year-old nephew Shaban and a friend - under the concept of "universal jurisdiction". 

But this was interpreted very differently by the judges who in the end said they couldn't rule against Gantz and Eshel because of legal technicalities and had only sorrow to offer the plaintiff. They said his was a civil matter that couldn't be decided by a domestic court in Holland.

 Zaida called the judges verdict “cowardly”.

Two issues stand out here! Why maintain "universal jurisdiction" if global judiciaries, like Dutch judges fail to pass a verdict on what is undoubtedly a crime of great proportion as that done to the Zaida family that can indeed be called a crime against humanity.

The family was part of the over 1000 Palestinians killed in that war which lasted 51 days. About 208 children died in that war with more than 6000 injured not to say anything of the enormous infrastructure that was destroyed by Israeli bombing. Isn't this a war crime or is it merely just "civilian matters".

Zaida appears to be a tough fighter. He first filed the lawsuit in 2019. It was then rejected by the Hague District Court in January 2020 and now it has been turned down as well. He is not about to give up although prospects of a fair ruling in his case appear to be dim. He can however, take two more steps: Go to the Dutch Supreme Court and if that fails the European Court of Human Rights.


Thus Israel, Gantz, Eshel are bracing themselves to be in 'controversial' news for quite sometime. 


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