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Death of a 13-year-old girl from plastic bullets: the case of RA
3906/96 | documents: 2  |  Updates: 0 On April 17, 1989, RA, a thirteen-year-old resident of the Duheisha refugee camp in the Bethlehem area, went with a friend to look for her brother. When the girls noticed they were getting close to the scene of a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, they began to retreat. The soldiers opened fire in their direction. RA was hit at the back of her neck and died instantly. Her friend was injured.  

Through HaMoked, RA's parents demanded the military investigate the circumstances surrounding their daughter's death. A year after the event, the office of the Military Advocate General (MAG) announced it had ordered the case closed, as the investigation uncovered no evidence that the girl had been killed by shots fired at her by the soldiers. Following B'Tselem's research into the case, which included an affidavit of the physician who examined the body, and determined RA had been hit by a bullet which penetrated the back of her neck, Member of Knesset (MK) Yair Tsaban, demanded clarifications regarding the incident from the Defense Minister. In his reply, delivered in March 1990, the Defense Minister informed that: "concerning the circumstances of RA's death, it has been established […] [that] one of the commanders fired two plastic bullets […] one of these bullets hit the deceased, causing her death".

Thereupon, HaMoked demanded the MAG clarify the obvious discrepancies between its version and that of the Defense Minister. HaMoked further stated that although the military investigation clearly showed that the soldier who fired had deviated from operational orders, no charges were brought against him. In its response, the MAG held fast to the version it had provided to HaMoked, and stated that "an error occurred in the wording" of the Defense Minister's reply to MK Tsaban.

In February 1996, while demanding the military provide a single version of the events and prosecute those responsible, HaMoked filed a civil claim against the military on behalf of RA’s parents. Negotiations resulted in a settlement, whereby Israel would pay RA's parents the sum of NIS 40,000 in compensation for their daughter's death.


CC 3906/96 - Abu Laban et al. v. Yitzhari et al. Settlement Agreement
Judgment / Magistrate's Court  |  3906/96  |  11.3.1997
CC 3906/96 - Abu Laban et al. v. Yitzhari et al. Statement of Claim
Complaint  |  3906/96  |  22.2.1996
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