Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A third soldier may be indicted for misconduct during Cast Lead operation

 The Abu Hajjaj family house, Photo B'tselem

Wow, after 18 months of investigations into the conduct of the Cast Lead operation in December-January of 2008-2009 during which more than 1400 Palestinians were killed, Israel may indict a third soldier for not behaving in a proper way, Ynet reports. The man, a sergeant of the Givati Brigade, is said to have opened fire at a group of 31 people who were fleeing an area where shots were fired and who were carrying white flags. The sergeant had not received orders to shoot. A mother of 64 and her daughter (35), both belonging to the Abu Hajjaj-family were killed as a result of his shooting. 
Israeli military prosecution has already submitted two earlier indictments against soldiers who participated in the Gaza operation – one for theft and illegal use of a credit card, the other for overstepping authority in a case where soldiers ordered a Palestinian child to open suspicious bags for them. Now a decision is expected on the most sensitive case. 
Ynet tells us:  About two months ago the military advocate told the soldier that before the case was decided he would be entitled to a hearing. However, the case was described as a "killing", indicating the advocate's intention to indict the soldier for a serious offence, though it is possible that a milder indictment may be submitted in the end.  Because of the sensitivity of the case, the military police will be present during the hearing. Military sources said to Ynet that it is a complex case that requires thorough investigation. They noted that the case had been handled with no regard for the allegations in the Goldstone Report.
Goldstone? No God forbid, this was an Israeli investigation. And since it was a' complex' one, we have to understand that it took 18 months to reach this stage. Still it is unclear what kind of indictment will follow. For those who want to read about what happened: B'tselem published a testimony of  Farhaneh Abu Hajjaj, one of the family members, in April 2009. It can be found here. 

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