Tags: Gaza | Israel | soldier | charges

Israeli Soldier May Face Gaza Charges

Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 07:58 AM

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army's top prosecutor has begun hearing evidence against a soldier suspected of killing two women who were waving white flags during the Gaza war, local media reported on Wednesday.

The hearing of the unidentified reserve soldier began on Tuesday, with Chief Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit hearing submissions from lawyers representing the accused.

The soldier was not present at the two-hour hearing which was to assess what if any charges he might face, the Haaretz daily said.

Military sources quoted by the English-language Jerusalem Post said there was "significant evidence" against the soldier which could lead to manslaughter charges.

The army had no immediate comment on Tuesday's hearing, which was expected to continue next week.

If charges are filed, it would be the first prosecution of an Israeli soldier for killing civilians during the 22-day war, which was launched in December 2008 and killed around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, which first reported the killings, said the soldier is believed to have opened fire without provocation on a group of some 30 civilians, killing Riyeh Abu Hajaj, 64, and her daughter Majda Abu Hajaj, 37, from the Juhr al-Dik village south of Gaza City.

Last week, the army confirmed the military police had completed an investigation into the incident and said the case had been transferred to the office of the military advocate general for a hearing to begin on June 22.

"A decision about the continuation of the legal proceedings will be taken upon the conclusion of that process," the army said at the time.

B'Tselem said the incident occurred on January 4, 2009 when the Abu Hajaj family evacuated their home after it was hit by a tank shell.

During the military police investigation, the soldier told investigators he had fired at the women's legs only when he believed the troops' lives were at risk and had not intended to kill them, Haaretz reported last week.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said 1,417 Palestinians were killed in the operation, of which 926 were civilians -- including 313 children and 116 women.

The Israeli military says 295 Palestinian civilians were killed during the offensive aimed at halting years of Palestinian rocket attacks, of which 89 were under 16, and 49 were women.

It says the high number of civilian casualties was unavoidable as Hamas fighters deployed in crowded civilian areas and used women and children as human shields.

But a UN fact-finding report released last year accused both Israel and Palestinian militant groups of deliberately attacking civilians in violation of international law.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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JERUSALEM — The Israeli army's top prosecutor has begun hearing evidence against a soldier suspected of killing two women who were waving white flags during the Gaza war, local media reported on Wednesday.
Gaza,Israel,soldier,charges
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2010-58-23
Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 07:58 AM
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