On January 29, 2009, a Spanish judge ordered a “war crimes” investigation against seven Israeli officials, in connection to the death of the head of Hamas’ military wing, Salah Shehadah, in 2002. Shehadah was responsible for the murder and injury of hundreds of Israelis, including scores of women and children.
The judge’s order was issued in a case filed by PCHR in June 2008, an example of anti-Israel lawfare, whereby NGOs exploit universal jurisdiction statutes in Europe to bring cases in venues with no connection to the events in question, in order to harass Israeli officials. Under Spanish law, NGOs can file lawsuits calling for criminal investigations without the knowledge or agreement of the Spanish government. In its filings, PCHR claims that Israel “deliberately” killed 15 bystanders in the Shehadah operation. PCHR, makes no mention, however, of how Shehadah exploited Gazan civilians by hiding in a residential neighborhood or of how Shehadah was planning further attacks to murder Israeli civilians when he was killed.
For more information on this case, see:
- Analysis: EU-funded Palestinian NGO leading the ‘Spanish inquisition’, Gerald M. Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2009
- ‘Lawfare:’ Another weapon in the jihad against Israel, Richard L. Cravatts, History News Network, January 05, 2009
- NGO Monitor’s monograph, NGO “Lawfare”: Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict