cast lead 311.
(photo credit: kobi gideon)
A number of IDF soldiers will face criminal and disciplinary charges for misconduct during Operation Cast Lead, IDF Military Advocate-General Maj.- Gen. Avichai Mandelblit decided Tuesday, in the most comprehensive legal action taken by Israel in the wake of the Goldstone Report.RELATED:
In the most severe case, Mandelblit decided to charge a soldier with manslaughter for allegedly shooting and killing a Palestinian woman during the operation in the Gaza Strip.
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He will bring
disciplinary charges against two officers, one of them a battalion
commander, for unprofessional conduct, including permitting the use of
Palestinians as “human shields,” a practice banned by the High Court of
In the coming weeks, Mandelblit, together with the
Foreign Ministry, will submit a revised version of a report that Israel
submitted on Operation Cast Lead to the United Nations in February. The
new report will be delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon by July
25, when Ban is expected to issue his own report on Cast Lead.
the decision to take legal action, Mandelblit has completed reviewing
30 cases singled out in the Goldstone Report, except for one that is
still under Military Police investigation.
The shooting incident
took place on January 4, 2009 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,
a staff-sergeant from the Givati Brigade opened fire, killing an
unidentified person. The Palestinians claimed that a mother and daughter
– 35-year-old Majda Abu Hajiji and her 64-year-old mother Salama – were
killed in the incident, which was thoroughly investigated by B’Tselem
and mentioned in the Goldstone Report, while the soldiers claimed that
the soldier, who served as a marksman, shot a man.
reviewing the evidence, Mandelblit decided to indict the soldier based
on evidence showing he deliberately targeted an individual walking with
“Despite the fact that the two events are apparently
one and the same, from a judicial point of view, sufficient connections
could not be made between the evidence gathered in the case of the
indicted soldier and the event described by Palestinian testimonies,”
the IDF said in statement.
Mandelblit also decided to hold a
disciplinary hearing for a battalion commander from the Golani Brigade
with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, who allegedly permitted troops to
send a Palestinian into a home where terrorists were located. This was
done in an effort to convince the terrorists to leave the home.
battalion commander, who was not present during the incident, gave his
approval based on reports that he received from one of his company
commanders that the Palestinian, according to a senior officer,
“literally begged” the soldiers to allow him to enter the home in an
effort to prevent the demolition of his home, which was next door.
decided to press disciplinary and not criminal charges against the
officer, after reviewing the material collected during the investigation
and due to the fact that the Palestinian had requested to enter the
home to talk to the terrorists. But Mandelblit still decided to hold a
hearing for the commander, since the use of human shields is a violation
of IDF orders and a High Court ruling.
The IDF 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 occupied at the time by close to 100 members
of the A-Samuni family. Some 21 members of the family were killed in the
“Suspicions are,” a senior officer said, “that
civilians were killed due to a violation in regulations.”
last case, Mandelblit decided to take disciplinary action against an IDF
captain who ordered an attack on a terror operative who was stationed
near the Ibrahim Al- Makadma mosque in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.
aerial strike targeted a terror operative involved in the launching of
rockets at Israel who was standing outside of the mosque. Injuries
caused to civilians inside were unintentional and caused by shrapnel
that penetrated the mosque.