After similar circumstances last week prompted the last-minute cancellation of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s trip to Paris, another court case was filed against the Barak and a series of other senior Israeli officials for alleged war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.
Among those targeted in the suit are Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who also has an arrest warrant out against her in Britain for her role as foreign minister during the Gaza offensive, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and other Israelis in the IDF and Israel’s intelligence services.
The claim was filed by a Belgian citizen of Palestinian descent together with 13 residents of the Gaza Strip. The plaintiffs’ attorney estimated that the country’s attorney general will evaluate the case to determine whether it provides just cause to open a case against the senior Israeli officials “already by the end of August.”
The statement of claim is 70 pages long and describes in detail various events that took place during the Gaza operation, including an attack on a mosque near the Jabaliya refugee camp during which 16 civilians, including children, were killed. The plaintiffs were either wounded or lost a relative in the said attack.
Much of the claim is based on the Goldstone Report.
The attorney who filed the claim called upon the Belgian attorney general to honor their request “because Palestine is not recognized as a country, and thus no file of claim can be filed there.”
The plaintiffs wrote, “We do not trust the Israeli court system because it is not independent, reliable, or honest according to the criteria of international law.”