A Dutch appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz cannot be held liable in a case brought by a man who lost six relatives in a 2014 airstrike in Gaza.
Ismail Ziada, a Dutch-Palestinian man, lost his mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law, a young nephew and a friend in the strike during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge targeting Gaza.
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Ziada had appealed against a ruling by The Hague district court in January 2020 that it had no jurisdiction under international law in the case, which named Gantz and a former Israeli air force chief.
“Dutch courts are not competent here to judge the claim. The (lower) court rightly decided that,” The Hague appeals court said.
“High-ranking military personnel have carried out official policy of the state of Israel, which renders a judgment on their actions moribund.”
The court added that it was “not blind to the plaintiff’s suffering.”
Israel’s defense minister since last year, Gantz was the chief of general staff of the Israeli defense force (IDF) at the time of the airstrike on the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza on July 20, 2014.
The case also named former Israeli air force chief Amir Eshel.
Israel said it launched Protective Edge at the time to stop rocket fire against its citizens and destroy tunnels used for smuggling weapons and militants.
The operation left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, most of them civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.