An Israeli military spokesperson announced Sunday that an Israeli soldier referenced only as Staff Sergeant “S” would serve 45 days in prison for killing Ria Abu Hajaj and her daughter Majda during the January, 2009 invasion of Gaza code-named “Cast Lead”. The sentence was the result of a plea agreement.
I was able to locate “S’s” Commanding Officer, who was willing to be interviewed, but he asked me not to use his real name, so I am giving him the pseudonym Anders Breivik for the sake of this report.
BW: Can you tell me why Staff Sergeant “S” received only 45 days for killing a 64-year-old Palestinian woman and her 35-year-old daughter while they were carrying white flags?
AB: I’m sorry, but your information is incorrect. Neither of the women was carrying a white flag. At best, these were pieces of white cloth on a stick. To qualify as a flag it would have had to be of the proper dimensions and material, which these were not.
BW: But why only 45 days for killing two unarmed women?
AB: There are lots of reasons. He is Jewish. They are Palestinian. They are women. He is a man. Besides, they were not unarmed and Staff Sergeant “S” found himself in a “threatening situation endangering the lives of the soldiers.”
BW: What arms were they carrying?
AB: Sticks with white cloth on them.
BW: Do we at least agree that he killed them?
AB: Actually, the court found this allegation to be unproven. “S” admitted firing his weapon at the women and we have determined that the women were killed by gunfire. However, we cannot be sure that the two facts are related in any way.
BW: What other kind of proof do you need?
AB: Eyewitness corroboration would be helpful, but in fact the eyewitnesses all said the opposite. One said that the bullets that “S” fired actually ended up killing another Palestinian a few days later in a different place. “S” also said that he was aiming at their feet, and the witnesses corroborated that statement.
BW: So who were the witnesses?
AB: The other soldiers in his unit. Perhaps they didn’t want to embarrass him by saying that he’s a lousy marksman.
BW: What about the Palestinians who were at the scene?
AB: Their testimony is biased and unreliable. Only Israeli soldiers can be trusted to give accurate information, and only if the members of the court, including the judges, are also military personnel. Besides, “S” was convicted of a much more serious charge than killing two Palestinian women.
BW: What could be more serious?
AB: Firing his weapon when I had not ordered him to do so. If we’re going to kill Palestinian women, we have to follow proper procedure, and “B” failed to wait for my order.
BW: I thought his name was “S”.
AB: Sorry. I’m used to calling him by his first name.