In confirmation of the Israeli judiciary’s flagrant disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, an Israeli court sentenced an Israeli soldier, who is accused of killing a Palestinian woman and her daughter during “Operation Cast Lead” (27 December 2008 -18 January 2009), to only 45 days of imprisonment. The bill of indictment against the soldier was changed from involuntary killing to illegal misuse of weapons.
On 12 August 2012, an Israeli military court sentenced an Israeli soldier who is accused of killing Raya Salama ‘Abdul Karim Abu Hajjaj (64) and Majeda ‘Abdul Karim Abu Hajjaj (37, both from the Juhor al-Dik village southeast of Gaza City, to 45 day of imprisonment. According to a statement issued by the Israeli military spokesman, this sentence was issued in the context of the agreement reached following mediation and evidence analysis, with a recommendation to conduct a military trial.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) emphasizes, according to the evidence and information it has, that the killing of the mother and her daughter while carrying white flags was direct, deliberate and cold-blooded, particularly as the area was completely controlled by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Many civilians, mostly women and children, got out of their house raising white flags when the IOF ordered the population in the area to leave.
It is clear that the Israeli military court’s decision against the soldier confirms the absence of individual criminal responsibility and provides further judicial protection for Israeli soldiers, especially as the penalty for involuntary killing may amount to 20 years of imprisonment.
In its capacity as the legal representative of the victims’ family, PCHR filed a compensation claim before the Magistrate Court of Haifa demanding compensation for the family for the death of the women by the IOF. Consequently, the Israeli prosecution sought to close the claim through a settlement, under which an amount of 500,000 NIS would be paid to the family in return for closing the claim. The court approved this settlement. It should be noted that this settlement does not free the defendants from criminal responsibility.
PCHR will continue its efforts to prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals before Israeli courts, or the national courts of other countries on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction, to ensure that Israeli war criminals do not evade justice.