Benjamin Gantz

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Lieutenant-General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz was born in 1959 in Israel. He joined Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in 1977 as a recruit of the Paratroopers and graduated from the IDF officer school in 1979. Between February 2011 and February 2015, he was appointed to serve as the 20th Chief of the General Staff of the IDF.

During the summer 2014, Israel carried out numerous airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. According to an independent investigation appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, residential and other civilian buildings were targeted during the attacks. It has also been reported that 2’251 Palestinians were killed in these attacks, more than half of whom were civilians.

On 20 July 2014, without any warning, an Israeli airstrike allegedly destroyed the house of Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada’s family, which was located in the Al-Bureij refugee camp. The attack also killed Ziada’s elderly mother, three of his brothers, his sister-in-law, his 12-year-old nephew, and a seventh person who was visiting the family.

According to Israel’s Military Advocate General (MAG), who investigated the attack, on the site of Ziada’s home there was a command and control centre of the military branch of Hamas.

Legal procedure

In March 2017, Ziada’s lawyers filed a complaint before a Dutch court, alleging the responsibility of Gantz and Amir Eshel for the destruction of Ziada’s home and for the killing of his family members during the 2014 airstrike campaign. Ziada sued the two Israeli generals for more than $ 600’000 in damages, in addition to court costs.

The case is due to begin before the District Court of The Hague in June 2018.