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Dutch Palestinian seeks damages from Israel’s Gantz

Dutch Palestinian seeks damages from Israel’s Gantz

Reuters
THE HAGUE
A Dutch Palestinian who lost six relatives during a 2014 bombing of Gaza sought compensation on Tuesday from former Israeli armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who is contesting a tight election against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
With voting underway in Israel where Gantz and Netanyahu’s parties have been neck-and-neck, Ismail Ziada invoked “universal jurisdiction” laws in a request for a Netherlands court to hear a civil suit against the ex-military head for war crimes.
Ziada wants compensation of 600,000 euros ($660,000) for the deaths of his mother, three brothers, sister-in-law and nephew when the family’s home in the al-Bureij refugee camp was bombed by forces under Gantz’s command.
“I struggle to stand in front of you today to gain justice and accountability,” Ziada told Dutch judges, referring to the “unspeakable tragedy” that befell his family.
Thom Dieben, a lawyer on behalf of Gantz and his co-defendant, former Israeli air force chief Amir Eshel, told the court the case should be dismissed because it violated state sovereignty rules and Dutch courts do not have jurisdiction. “The Israeli courts are the appropriate forum for the complainant to file his case,” Dieben said.
He also argued that the defendants have immunity from prosecution because the deaths occurred while they were carrying out official government functions.
The bombing of the Ziadi residence occurred during a seven-week conflict in which, according to Gaza health officials, 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians, and said its forces exercised restraint while confronting militants in densely populated areas.

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