cast lead 311.
(photo credit: kobi gideon)
IDF Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit on Wednesday summoned
a recently discharged soldier who fought in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast
Lead for a hearing amid suspicions that the soldier killed two innocent women
during the operation.
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 chil- dren, approached an Israeli military position. The group,
according to several eyewitness accounts, was waving white flags.
Lead warfare misconduct trial opens
committed war crimes in Gaza'
certain point, one of the IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade opened fire,
killing 35- year-old Majda Abu Hajiji and her 64-year-old mother
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 singled out as responsible for opening
fire at the group of civilians.
“Ahmad and Majda waved white flags, so
the soldiers would see us. Suddenly, they opened fire at us, and we began to run
eastward,” Majda’s sister- in-law Farhaneh Abu Hajaj later told
“My mother-in-law was behind us because she couldn’t run. While
I ran, I saw Majda on the ground. I thought she was lying there so she wouldn’t
be hit by the gunfire. I said to her, ‘Get up! Get up!’ But she didn’t move. I
finally realized she had been killed by the gunfire.”
last year to open a Military Police criminal investigation into the incident
during which the soldier was interrogated but explained that he had felt in
danger, was in the middle of a battle, and therefore opened fire.
October, B’Tselem facilitated the transfer of four Palestinians who were
involved in the incident to the Erez Crossing where they gave testimony
Military Police investigators.
Next week, Mandelblit will hold a special
hearing for the soldier before deciding whether to press charges and if
what severity. Military sources said that the evidence collected by
Police investigators raised “serious questions” regarding the soldier’s
conduct during the incident.
B’Tselem welcomed the decision by Mandelblit to summon the soldier for a
but expressed concern that the IDF investigations were ending at the
level and not with the echelon that gave the orders how to fight inside
during Operation Cast Lead.
“We welcome this decision but there are still
many cases that are waiting to be concluded,” B’Tselem spokeswomen Sarit
“Our fear is that the Military Police probes are dealing
with the soldiers on the ground but not with those who gave the orders.”