Roger Waters backs war crimes lawsuit against Israel’s Benny Gantz

Roger Waters (Do512)

Ali Abunimah / 2 February 2019

The Electronic Intifada

Rock star Roger Waters is giving financial backing to a war crimes lawsuit in the Netherlands against Benny Gantz, the former army chief who is running to be Israel’s next prime minister.

Last year Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada filed a case against Gantz and former Israeli air force chief Amir Eshel under the Netherlands’ universal jurisdiction law.

The complaint accuses Gantz and Eshel of responsibility for a 20 July 2014 airstrike that destroyed the Ziada family home in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, killing six members of Ismail Ziada’s family including his mother, and a seventh person who was visiting them.

crowdfunding campaign on behalf of the human rights lawyers who filed the case aims to raise almost $60,000 to cover legal costs.

“In support of the Ziada family’s right to their day in court in Holland, I will match any financial contribution to the legal campaign until we reach the target,” Waters says in an endorsement on the campaign website.

Ismail Ziada is suing two Israeli generals for the deaths of six relatives during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza. (via Facebook)

Ismail Ziada is suing two Israeli generals for the deaths of six relatives during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza. (via Facebook)

The attack took place during Israel’s 51-day assault on the Gaza Strip commanded by Gantz, that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children.

In November, the Israeli generals’ lawyers submitted a response which ignored Ziada’s key argument that the bombing was illegal and a war crime under international law.

Instead, the generals claim a right to immunity and dispute the jurisdiction of the Dutch court.

Unlike Ziada, the two generals will have unlimited resources to fight the effort to hold them accountable, as the Israeli government is paying their legal fees.

Proud killer

While Gantz seeks to avoid accountability for his actions, he remains proud of his record of killing – boasting about the destruction and death toll he caused in Gaza in videos launching his election campaign.

Gantz is rising rapidly in the polls and is now seen as having a real chance of unseating Israel’s scandal-plagued Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April’s elections.

Gantz’s rise is undoubtedly being assisted by sympathetic media coverage, including from Israel’s supposedly liberal flagship newspaper Haaretz.

Haaretz’s editorial board gave Gantz a full-throated endorsement, praising the accused war criminal for offering “a concrete alternative leadership to Benjamin Netanyahu.”

No doubt, as Gantz gains political stature, international media will join Haaretz in whitewashing him.

Reuters is already blandly describing Gantz’s Hosen Le Yisrael (Israel Resilience) party as “middle of the road.”

In a tweetHaaretz also described Gantz as projecting “the sanity and normalcy many Israelis crave.”

That prompted one Twitter user to quip that “since Gantz was bragging about how many Palestinians he killed, that should give you an idea of what Israelis consider normal and sane.”