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17.10.2005

Two years after a Palestinian resident of Rafah was killed by the military and her husband and his two brothers were injured, the military decided to open a criminal investigation: Only following HaMoked's petition did the Military Advocate General agree to finalize the exploratory procedures - over a year after the severe incident took place – but decided, predictably, not to launch a military police investigation. An objection filed by HaMoked on this matter was accepted and an investigation will be launched

On the night of 17 October 2003, a resident of Rafah felt ill. Only two months had passed since her daughter was born and the woman was suffering abdominal pain. Her husband decided to get her to a doctor. When the two arrived at their car, soldiers opened fire at them. The husband's two brothers hastened to the place to evacuate the wife and husband and were shot as well. The bullets hit everyone present, as well as the car.

The woman died as a result of the shooting and was survived by her four small children and husband who was severely injured. The husband's two brothers were also severely injured.

After the incident, HaMoked demanded the Southern Command Advocate's Office open an investigation. However, despite the gravity of the incident in which an innocent woman lost her life and three others were severely injured, the Military Advocate General (MAG) refrained from ordering a military police investigation be launched for over a year.

Due to the conduct of the MAG, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on 9 March 2005. In its petition, HaMoked claimed that this procrastination was extremely unreasonable and might thwart the investigation, should one eventually be opened. The MAG's not ordering an investigation strengthens claims raised against it regarding whitewashing of the investigation and examination process and creates an atmosphere where the death of innocent Palestinians is tolerated. Only after the petition was filed did the MAG agree to finalize the exploratory processes, but decided, predictably, not to launch a military police investigation. Therefore, the petition was deleted. HaMoked filed an objection to the decision not to launch an investigation.

In its objection, HaMoked claimed that the State's version, as presented in its response to the petition, according to which there was fighting in the area at the time and the soldiers thought the deceased and her husband were armed men laying explosives, was based on thin exploratory material and rife with contradictions in respect to the versions presented in the media and the military spokesperson's announcements. The State also admitted that the shooting was also aimed at the victim's brothers whilst they were trying to evacuate him and his wife in order to get them medical treatment – this despite the fact that the soldiers were in no danger. Such conduct is a grave offence and a severe violation of the "Purity of Arms" principle.

Following the grave incident, HaMoked also decided to file a compensation claim against the State for the damages incurred by the victims. HaMoked claims, inter alia, that the MAG's lengthy procrastination may also foil the compensation claim.

Eventually, on 17 October 2005, one day after the compensation claim was filed, HaMoked received a letter from the MAG announcing the objection was accepted and an instruction to launch an investigation was issued – two years after the incident (in fairness, it must be noted that the letter was sent prior to the submission of the compensation claim).

To view HaMoked's petition dated 9 March 2005 (Hebrew)

To view the State's response to the petition dated 14 April 2005 (Hebrew)

To view HaMoked's objection dated 5 June 2005 (Hebrew)

To view the compensation claim dated 16 October 2005 (Hebrew)

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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