Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Israeli Soldier Receives 45 Day Sentence in Death of Mother, Daughter in Gaza

Haaretz reported earlier this week the case of Staff Sgt. S of the IDF who had been accused of killing Ria Abu Hajaj, 64, and her daughter Majda, 37, as they were waving a white flag in Gaza during the first day of Israel's Opration Cast Lead. The soldier's lawyers claimed that there was no proven connection between him and the killings and eventually reached a plea bargain with the military advocate general. Staff Sgt S will thus be convicted of the relatively light offense of the illegal use of a weapon and sentenced to a mere 45 days in prison. 

This verdict, in relieving an Israeli soldier of any true responsibility for a heinous war crime, flies in the face of Obama's assertion that Israeli military investigations into their own alleged crimes are sufficient to provide justice.  Indeed, even when an American citizen was killed by the IDF in last year's flotilla raid,
Obama left the investigation into any wrongdoing up to the Israel  and no indictments were brought against Israeli military personnel. 

Perhaps more troubling, Israel's military investigation into the war crimes brought to light by the Goldstone Report has resulted in
a mere three indictments, including that of Staff Sgt S. For example, no legal action has been taken regarding the killing of 21 members of the Samouni family during the invasion. It is clear that the Israeli military has failed to sufficiently investigate accusations of its own wrongdoing, and the global community, including the United States, must apply more pressure to hold Israel legally accountable.  

Further, as Israel has failed to thoroughly investigate and punish its own war crimes, the United States should reconsider its policy of unconditionally arming the Israeli military with over three billion dollars in military aid per year.  It is time that American-bought weapons stop being used to commit crimes against Palestinians and those who stand with them.  Want to find out how much your community sends to buy weapons for the Israeli military?  Check out our military aid database and get involved by telling your representatives to fund community needs instead of Israel's crimes!

IDF soldier sentenced to 45 days for death of mother, daughter in Gaza war

Military advocate general reaches plea bargain in the most significant event mentioned in UN Goldstone Report; Givati soldier was accused of shooting women who raised white flag.

IDF troops operating in Gaza via Getty (Archive)

"A soldier accused of killing two women who waved a white flag during the "Cast Lead" operation in Gaza reached a plea bargain with the military advocate general and will be jailed for 45 days. The agreement will be submitted today to the Jaffa military court, after negotiations between MAG and the soldier's attorneys. The soldier, Staff Sgt. S', from Givati Brigade will be convicted of a relatively light offense - illegal use of weapons..."
Read more here