Mother and daughter killed while waving white flags– Israel finds no crime

Israel/Palestine
on 17 Comments

Maybe you remember that a year ago last spring Judge Richard Goldstone walked back his landmark UN report on human rights atrocities in the Gaza slaughter by stating in the Washington Post that he was satisfied that Israel was investigating the alleged crimes “transparently and in good faith… to a significant degree.”

Maybe you remember the several cases that Goldstone documented of women shot while holding white flags and seeking to leave areas of conflict. A war crime, he said.

Well here is the latest from Human Rights Watch on one such white-flag killing, and the Israeli investigation of the case:

A military trial that ended August 12, 2012, failed to hold anyone accountable for the killings of a mother and daughter during Israel’s military operation in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, Human Rights Watch said today.

The two women were killed when an Israeli soldier opened fire on a group of civilians holding white flags to demonstrate their civilian status. The case concluded after a soldier pled guilty to “unlawful use of arms” without any conclusion that the action was linked to the killings. In a civil case, Israeli authorities paid compensation to the women’s families.

And here is the Common Dreams report on what happened in that case. Look for any transparency or good faith…

An Israeli soldier accused of killing a mother and daughter carrying a white flag in Gaza during Israel’s 2009 ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has received a sentence of only 45 days following a plea deal approved by a military court on Sunday.

Rayah Abu Hajaj (in this family photo) and her daughter Majedah were shot while walking with a group of Palestinians holding white flags after their home was bombed during Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in the Gaza Strip in 2009. The charges against the soldier — known only in court documents and the Israeli media as “staff sergeant S” — were reduced from ‘manslaughter’ to ‘using a weapon illegally’. In addition, as the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem points out, the deal does not recognize guilt for the killing of Majedah and Rayah Abu Hajaj, but rather punishes the soldier for the “killing of an unidentified individual.”

“Following a mediation process and upon examination of the evidence with the recommendation of the military court, both sides have reached a plea bargain in which the indictment will be adjusted, and he will be convicted of using a weapon illegally,” a military statement said.

B’Tselem challenged the decision and called for the reopening of the case for a full and thorough investigation.

“If the military prosecution accepted the claim brought by the soldier’s lawyers, that there is no connection between the shooting he admitted to, and the killing of the Palestinian mother and daughter, this means that the investigation into this incident was never completed,” the group said in a statement.

“B’Tselem demands that the Military Police investigation unit reopen the file.”

According to B’Tselem, on January 4, 2009, the Abu Hajaj family evacuated their home after it was hit by an Israeli tank shell.

“When they saw tanks about 150 metres (yards) from them, two of them waved the (white) flags, and the children in the group sat on the ground,” B’Tselem said.

“Suddenly, and without warning, shots were fired at the residents, killing Majda Abu Hajaj on the spot. Her mother, Riyeh Abu Hajaj, was severely wounded by the gunfire,” it said. She later died of her wounds.

The incident was one of those raised in the UN Goldstone Report on alleged war crimes by both Israel during its incursion of the Gaza strip in late 2008 and early 2009.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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17 Responses

  1. seafoid
    August 23, 2012, 11:59 am

    Palestinians are not human under Israeli law. Dogs in Israel are treated better on average than the people of Gaza .

  2. Kathleen
    August 23, 2012, 12:00 pm

    Why can’t this crime be taken up a notch by the ICC?

    • Fredblogs
      August 23, 2012, 8:00 pm

      No jurisdiction.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 24, 2012, 1:00 am

        “No jurisdiction.”

        Says he walking away with an imperceptible grin..

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:19 am

        “No jurisdiction.”

        Yes. Israel signed it — but then in 2002 apparently decided that wasn’t such a great idea. They got us to walk out on it at the same time — to provide cover?

  3. Annie Robbins
    August 23, 2012, 12:03 pm

    from Nima Shirazi’s Israel’s lone soldiers: Come for the perks, stay for the war crimes

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/israels-lone-soldiers.html

    An anonymous Givati soldier was recently sentenced to a mere 45 days in prison for “illegal use of a firearm,” a charge reduced from manslaughter through a plea bargain. He had willfully murdered 65 year old Ria Abu Hajaj and her 37 year old daughter Majda Hajaj, after they were ordered to evacuate their home in Juhr ad-Dik with their families during the Gaza massacre in early January 2009. They were waving white flags and moving slowly in an area in which there was no combat whatsoever when the Israeli soldier opened fire on the group of 28 Hajaj family members, which included at least 17 children. Apparently, the use of his firearm was illegal, not the execution of civilians.

    there are 4 embedded links in that paragraph i didn’t include. i recommend the entire article.

  4. eljay
    August 23, 2012, 12:08 pm

    >> In a civil case, Israeli authorities paid compensation to the women’s families.

    And I bet the “Jewish State” didn’t even deduct the cost of the bullets from the compensation that was paid! But some people will never be happy, no matter how much the “Jewish State” bends over backwards for the Palestinians… ;-)

  5. yourstruly
    August 23, 2012, 3:35 pm

    the “home team’s” warriors never (or hardly ever) receive punishment commensurate with the seriousness of their crimes. Not only in Israel, but in Japan (for its soldiers’ rape of Nanking), America for its atrocities in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Seems that home team warriors are basically kind-hearted and law abiding, but, alas, in the heat (or is it the fog) of war unintentional mistakes are made for which they shouldn’t be punished. After all, aren’t they the home team’s best and brightest?

    • Chu
      August 23, 2012, 4:41 pm

      they’ll pay the price in hell…

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 24, 2012, 1:06 am

        “they’ll pay the price in hell…”

        I’d rather have them pay now. Better safe than sorry in case it turns out there’s no such a thing called hell (which is most plausible, btw)

    • Ranjit Suresh
      August 23, 2012, 4:45 pm

      Sure, but opposition in the U.S. to the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq grew to sizable proportions and ultimately came to encompass majorities of the public. Japan has not repented, and politicians still provocatively visit the shrine of war criminals, and yet the country has in practice made amends – by neutering itself as a military power.

      • yourstruly
        August 23, 2012, 9:37 pm

        the American people may have turned against the Vietnam War, but other than Lieutenant William Calley how many American military personnel received any punishment for all the war crimes committed by our soldiers? As for token convicted criminal Calley, he got exactly 3 1/2 years of house arrest, which amounted to approximately 2 months for each of the 22 Vietnamese civilians he had massacred at Mai Lai.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 2:49 am

        At least we didn’t pretend Calley hadn’t committed murder.

        “After deliberating for 79 hours, the six-officer jury (five of whom had served in Vietnam) convicted him on March 29, 1971, of the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. On March 31, 1971, Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor at Fort Leavenworth…”

        Obviously, what happened thereafter wasn’t too edifying — but no one can claim we’ve sunk to Israel’s level.

  6. OlegR
    August 23, 2012, 6:27 pm
    • thankgodimatheist
      August 24, 2012, 1:08 am

      Poor Oleg reduced to use the “look there!” cheap trick. Pathetic debilitating Zionism.

      • Cliff
        August 24, 2012, 2:07 am

        Rofl.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    August 23, 2012, 9:48 pm

    RE: “An Israeli soldier accused of killing a mother and daughter carrying a white flag in Gaza during Israel’s 2009 ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has received b>a sentence of only 45 days following a plea deal approved by a military court on Sunday.” ~ Common Dreams

    MY COMMENT: I can’t help but recall Marty Peretz’s comment that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims”. I wonder if Marty would now be willing to add that “Muslim life is even cheaper to Israelis”.
    Probably not, since he’s clearly in denial. And perhaps also because his new beau* is a 28 year-old former officer in the IDF.

    *“Take him back. Put this bigot back in the straight category. We don’t want him on the team.” – http://www.queerty.com/do-not-want-marty-peretz-is-a-homosexual-like-you-20110125/

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Marty Peretz]:

    (EXCERPTS) . . . Over the course of his career, Peretz has drawn criticism from some fellow commentators, particularly Jack Shafer of Slate Magazine and Eric Alterman of The Nation for making comments they considered bigoted, particularly towards Arabs and Muslims.[19][32][33] He has written (among other things) that “‘Arab society’ is ‘hidebound and backward’ [and] [t]hat the Druze are ‘congenitally untrustworthy'”[8]

    On September 4, 2010, Peretz drew media attention and controversy when he posted an editorial which concluded:

    But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.

    And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.[34]

    New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof denounced Peretz’s comments, asking: “Is it possible to imagine the same kind of casual slur tossed off about blacks or Jews?”[35] . . .
    . . . Peretz issued an apology on September 13.
    Regarding his statement about Muslims and the First Amendment, Peretz said: “I wrote that, but I do not believe that. I do not think that any group or class of persons in the United States should be denied the protections of the First Amendment, not now, not ever.”[36] Peretz also said that his comment that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims” was “a statement of fact, not of value” and pointed out that Kristof himself agreed that Muslims have not adequately condemned violence perpetrated by Muslims on fellow Muslims.[36]
    Kristof responded by criticizing Peretz for falsely claiming that Kristoff agreed with him, and also for continuing to generalize that all Muslims had the attitude of Muslim terrorists toward human life:[37]

    Making generalizations about racial, ethnic or religious groups is a dangerous game. Many Muslims see Americans dropping bombs in Iraq or Afghanistan and think that Christians don’t value human life. Arabs see Israelis invading Gaza and insist that Jews don’t value human life. Islam is no more monolithic than Christianity or Judaism, and these kinds of sweeping generalizations have historically led to dehumanizing other groups in ways that lead to discrimination and violence. They’re invidious and dangerous whether it’s we or Afghans who fall for them.[38]

    On September 17, 2010, Peretz issued another apology:
    … [I]n this past year I have publicly committed the sin of wild and wounding language, especially hurtful to our Muslim brothers and sisters. I do not console myself that many other Americans at this moment are committing the same transgressions, against others. I allowed emotion to run way ahead of reason, and feelings to trample arguments. For this I am sorry.[39]
    On September 20, 2010, five major Harvard student organizations, citing Peretz’s long “history of making terribly racist statements” urged Harvard not to go ahead with honors planned for Peretz. The organizations—the Harvard Islamic Society, Latinas Unidas, and the Harvard Black Students Association—asserted that Peretz over the course of more than a decade had not only made racist comments against Muslims, but also regarding African Americans and Mexicans.[40] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Peretz

    ALSO SEE – “Wolff: Peretz’s ‘vast corpus of disgusting statements’ stems from support for Israel” ~ by Philip Weiss on September 27, 2010
    LINK – http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/wolff-peretzs-vast-corpus-of-disgusting-statements-stems-from-support-for-israel.html

    AND SEE: “A ‘party for Marty’ greets Peretz at Harvard” ~ by Adam Horowitz on September 25, 2010
    Over 100 members of the Harvard community and others “welcomed” New Republic editor and the university administration’s favorite racist, Martin Peretz, at the 50th anniversary of Harvard’s Social Studies program with a combination of protests, walk-outs, and probing questions. . .
    LINK – http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/a-party-for-marty-greets-peretz-at-harvard-social-studies-event.html

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