The Israeli military Advocate General major-general Avichai Mandelblit decided Tuesday to charge a soldier with manslaughter for allegedly shooting and killing two Palestinian women during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year. The incident took place on January 4 in Juhar a-Dik, near Gaza City, when a group of about 30 Palestinian civilians, including women and children, approached an Israeli military position.
The group, according to several eyewitness accounts, was waving white flags.At a certain point, one of the IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade opened fire, killing a mother and daughter – 35-year-old Majda Abu Hajjaj and her 64-year-old mother Salama. The incident was later thoroughly investigated by B’Tselem and mentioned in the Goldstone Report. During a military probe shortly following the incident, one soldier was picked out as responsible for opening fire at the group of civilians.
The Israeli army also announced Tuesday that Mandelblit had decided to launch a new criminal investigation into an air force bombing of a home in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City which was occupied at the time by close to 100 members of the A-Samuni family.
Human Right Watch
There were in fact 11 cases during the Gaza war in which Israeli soldiers unlawfully shot and killed Palestinian civilians, including five women and four children, who were in groups waving white flags to convey their civilian status, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on 13 August 2009. HRW urged the Israeli military in the report to conduct thorough, credible investigations into these deaths to tackle the prevailing culture of impunity. The 63-page report, “White Flag Deaths: Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead,” was based on field investigations of seven incident sites in Gaza, including ballistic evidence found at the scene, medical records of victims, and lengthy interviews with multiple witnesses – at least three people separately for each incident.