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'Righteous Gentile' Gives Israel Back Award Over Gaza

Yad V'Shem award returned after honoree's family allegedly killed in Gaza; return letter blames Israel for 'war crimes.'
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 8/15/2014, 2:51 PM

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Reuters

A Dutch man who received the prestigious Righteous Gentile award from Yad V'Shem has given back his medal, Haaretz reported Friday, in protest of the civilian casualties in Gaza. 

Henk Zanoli, 91, hid a Jewish child in his home between 1943 and 1945, saving the child's life. Zanoli and his mother, Johana Zanoli-Smit, received the medal for their actions in 2011.

But Zanoli returned the accolade earlier this week to the Israeli embassy in the Hague, citing the death of several family members of his great-niece's husband, who is a Gaza native and whose family members died in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge last month. 

“It is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” Zanoli wrote in a letter to the embassy explaining his decision to return the medal.

“For me to hold on to the honor granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life." 

Zanoli apparently buys into the misnomer that Israel's actions in Gaza violated international law, claiming that the operation has “already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity."

“As a retired lawyer it would be no surprise to me that these accusations could lead to possible convictions if true and unpoliticized [sic] justice is able to have its course," he continued. "What happened to our kin in Gaza will no doubt be brought to the table at such a time as well.”

Zanoli's actions have become viral on Twitter and other social media platforms within a short time, as anti-Israel activists tout the move as the prime example of Israeli "war crimes" in Gaza.

It has not been confirmed, however, whether the deaths Zanoli's relatives spoke of actually happened - as Hamas in Gaza has been shown again and again to falsify deaths for the media in order to win the "PR war" against Israel. 

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a New Statesman report claiming an entire family died in Gaza was false; not only was the entire family found alive, but the Hamas "policeman" - or terrorist - was said to somehow have been bombed twice. 

Further, Hamas's wanton use of human shields has led to an inflated death toll, and terrorist deaths have been widely reported as civilian casualties.