The Spanish judge Fernando Andreu (of Audencia Nacional) launched a probe today against seven Israeli politicians and militaries suspected of crimes against humanity in a 2002 bombing of a residential area in Gaza.
15 persons were killed in the July 22, 2002 bombing, including nine children. 150 persons were injured in the attack, some with grave injuries. The target in the attack was the Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, who was amongst the casualities in the attack.
The seven persons named in the probe include Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (then Israeli minister of Defense, currently transportation minister) and Dan Halutz (then the commander of the Israeli Air Force), Michael Herzog (IOF Brigadier General), Moshe Ya'alon (IOF Chief of Staff), Doron Almog (IOF Major General), Giora Eiland (National Security Council president) and Abraham Dichter (presently Minister of National Security).
According to El Mundo, Dan Halutz is reported to have stated to his pilots after the bombing that "You have my full support. You can sleep assured that you have done a perfect action", thus admitting his own guilt in the massacre.
Spanish legislation approves of trying suspects of offenses like crimes against humanity, terrorism or genocide, even if they have been committed in other countries. This legislation was used to initiate a legal probe against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, amongst others. According to La Vanguardia, Israeli authorities have not responded positively to the Spanish request to facilitate the legal process.
This is indeed encouraging news for all who seek justice for the Israeli crimes against humanity. It should be taken as a signal for all democratic forces to step up the campaigns to put the present Israeli leadership to stand trial for war crimes in The Hague.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, News links on Gaza: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, "USA asks Israel to investigate war crimes allegations"