- An Israel Defense Forces soldier who killed a 95-year-old
Palestinian woman earlier this month has been sentenced to 65 days in military
- 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.