Spanish judge to proceed with probe of Gaza raid
A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with a probe into alleged crimes against humanity by top Israeli military figures after studying documents received from Israel, judicial sources said Friday.MADRID -- The documents, received by Judge Fernando Abreu after translation by the Israeli embassy, show the Jewish state has not launched any legal procedure concerning a 2002 bombing of Gaza, the sources said.
Andreu agreed last month to pursue a complaint of crimes against humanity against seven senior Israeli military figures over the bombing, sparking strong objections from Israel.
He was acting in line with Spain's assumption of the principle of universal jurisdiction in alleged cases of crimes against humanity, genocide, and terrorism.
But he could only proceed if the alleged crimes are not subject to a legal procedure in the country involved.
The judge now plans to officially notify former Israeli defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six senior military officials of the inquiry, and also seek witness testimony from Palestinians, the sources said.
The complaint, filed by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, concerns an Israeli air attack on 22 July 2002 on Gaza City which killed a suspected leader of the Islamist movement Hamas, Salah Shehadeh, along with 14 civilians, mainly infants and children.
Some 150 Palestinians were also wounded, according to the allegations.
In accepting the case last month, Andreu said the attack in a densely-populated area "showed signs of constituting a crime against humanity."
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has rejected the complaint as "delirious" and said he would do "everything possible to get the investigation dismissed."