Spanish Judge to Probe Israel's Deadly Gaza Strike
MADRID - A Spanish judge on Monday decided to go ahead with a probe into alleged crimes against humanity in Gaza by top Israeli military figures despite a request by public prosecutors that he shelve the case.
Public prosecutors made their recommendation last month on the grounds that the alleged crimes in question were already under investigation in Israel, but National Court judge Fernando Andreu ruled that this is not the case, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by AFP.
The judge was responding to a complaint lodged with the court against seven Israeli officials, including former defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights over an air attack on July 22, 2002 on Gaza City.
The attack killed a suspected leader of the Islamist movement Hamas, Salah Shehadeh, along with 14 civilians, mainly children, and wounded some 150 Palestinians, according to the complaint.
Spain assumes the principle of universal jurisdiction in alleged cases of crimes against humanity, genocide, and terrorism.
In addition to Ben-Eliezer, the complaint names the then army chief of staff, General Moshe Yaalon, as well as the then head of the Israeli air force, General Dan Halutz.
It also names General Doron Almog, national security council head Giora Eiland, Michael Herzog, a defence ministry official, and Avi Dichter, director of the Shin Beth intelligence agency.