The Spanish National Court ruled Tuesday that a Spanish judge must stop his pursuit of war crimes charges against seven Israeli officials stemming from an air raid in Gaza in July of 2002.
The air raid killed Hamas terrorist leader Sheikh Salah Shehadeh and 14 other people.
The court ruled 14 to 4 that Judge Fernando Andreu should not proceed with war crimes allegations against such notable former Israeli military leaders as current Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon and Industy Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer.
The judge had responded favorably to a complaint by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that the bombing in Gaza was a crime against humanity.
Although no Spanish citizens were affected by the bombing, Judge Andreu cited his country's observance of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction, which allows for the prosecution in Spain of crimes such as terrorism, genocide and torture, even if they have been committed elsewhere.
Last week, the Spanish Congress passed a new law which confines such investigations to crimes in which Spanish citizens are victims or the alleged perpetrator is living in Spain.
The new law is not retroactive, which means the case against the Israeli leaders can be appealed to the Spanish Supreme Court.