High Court rules to close case of four Gazan boys killed in Protective Edge

Four boys were accidentally killed in Gaza during Protective Edge when the military was carrying out a strike on suspicious targets.

IDF ARTILLERY CORPS members fire retaliatory strikes into Gaza in May. (photo credit: OLIVER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
IDF ARTILLERY CORPS members fire retaliatory strikes into Gaza in May.
(photo credit: OLIVER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The High Court of Justice on Sunday ruled to close the investigation into the accidental killing of four boys during Operation Protective Edge of the 2014 Gaza war.

On the eighth day of Protective Edge, IDF forces saw a number of suspicious-looking people on the beach at Khan Yunis in Gaza near a container that was used to store weapons. Based on the circumstances, a decision was made to strike the people from the air.

Two missiles were shot at the targets, killing them. It was later revealed that the strike killed four boys who had been playing soccer in the area at the time.

The military advocate-general (MAG) opened an investigation into the incident. The probe was later transferred to the General Staff investigation mechanism that was set up to investigate irregular incidents during the 2014 war.

The investigation collected evidence and witness statements from multiple people who were involved in the incident. The MAG eventually closed the case because it said no IDF soldiers were to blame for the boys’ deaths.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021. (credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021. (credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)

The area in which the strike was carried out was known to be a closed-off military compound that was separate from the part of the beach intended for civilian use. The MAG further stated that all appropriate protocols were carried out before the strike was launched.

Following this verdict, the petitioners turned to the attorney-general with a request that the case remain open. After going over the materials regarding the case, the attorney-general ruled to keep the case closed.

In the High Court case, the petitioners requested to have the case reopened so that those responsible would face justice. The court ruled for the case to remain closed on the basis that all the evidence as well as the attorney-general’s reasoning justified the decision.

“The difficult result of the affair in front of us is the tragic death of the four children from the Bechar family,” said the judge in the verdict. “The heart breaks over the death of innocents, but even so, after hearing the claims of both sides and going through the materials that were brought forth to us, I have concluded that the petition will be dismissed as a result of the absence of cause to contradict the discretion of the attorney-general.”