IDF Soldier Gets 65 Days
For Killing 95 Year Old Woman
By Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
Ha'aretz Daily

An Israel Defense Forces soldier who killed a 95-year-old Palestinian woman earlier this month has been sentenced to 65 days in military prison.
The incident occurred on December 3, at a roadblock at Ramallah's northern entrance. The soldier, from a Paratroopers unit, fired at a taxi which the army claims was traveling on a road forbidden to Palestinian vehicles. The woman, Fatma Obayed, who was in the car, was wounded fatally in the neck by the shots.
An IDF inquiry established that the shots were fired without justification, since the taxi did not pose a mortal threat to the soldiers. The soldiers at the checkpoint failed to follow the IDF's rules of engagement, the inquiry found. The soldier was tried a few days after the incident by his battalion commander.
The shooting victim's family was outraged yesterday by what it regarded as an unjustifiably light sentence for the soldier. Mohammed Obayed, the victim's grandson who lives in A'atara northwest of Ramallah, stated angrily: "The Israeli army thinks that it is humanitarian and progressive, but this sentence shows its true face. The soldier's action was a very grave matter, but in my opinion whoever judged the soldier bears much greater responsibility since he has encouraged Palestinian blood to be spilled in the future. Other solders will understand that the price to be paid for such an act is just two months in prison."
When investigating incidents in which Palestinian civilians are killed, the IDF draws distinctions between "circumstances in which soldiers have no choice, those in which they make professional errors, and cases of outright negligence," said a senior IDF officer yesterday. The IDF takes disciplinary action in cases in which soldiers do not comply with the rules of engagement, the officer added.
The IDF altered modes of operation on the West Bank in response to a number of incidents several months ago in which Palestinian residents were killed, the IDF source explained. The IDF pulled back tanks from several cities, and clarified the orders on rules of engagement. "All in all, our soldiers know how to exercise restraint, and they deserve our respect for that," he concluded.
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