The ruling in the case against the Givati soldiers sends "a negative message to both the victims and the soldiers," claimes Afaf Rabah, the mother of the nine-year-old boy who was forced to check bags suspected of containing explosives during Operation Cast Lead.
Rabah condemned the Kastina Military Court ruling which sentenced the two soldiers to three months of probation and demoted them to sergeants.
The mother told Ynet she was disappointed with the light punishment, but was not surprised. In her opinion, the court ruling basically means that soldiers can continue to endanger innocent citizens and carry out war crimes without suffering the consequences of a serious punishment.
"This is a scandal that just encourages others to continue in this behavior which sends a negative message to both the victims and the soldiers", she said.
Rabah said that the family intends to study the ruling in depth before making a decision on how to proceed. "I am still not sure about what we need to do. I must study the ruling, especially if there is any chance for any civil proceeding", she noted, "after the State and justice system give their support and backing to these criminal soldiers."
In their ruling the judges stated they were not presented any evidence during the trial which suggested that the soldiers aimed to hurt the child.
In court sentencing hearing Sunday (Photo: Tzafrir Abayov)
MK: Soldiers deserve medal, not lynch
"The message this sends is that the life of an Arab is inferior, including the lives of Arab children" added Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al). "It is no wonder that hundreds of Palestinian children were killed by the IDF without any consequences or condemnation. Any trial, is a deception from the very beginning. These soldiers deserved to be sent to prison along with their commanders."
The ruling in the case against the soldiers, who were discharged from the IDF six months ago, has prompted condemnation from the other side as well. "The legal lynch against the Givati heroes is a symbol of surrender to Israel's enemies who wish to neuter our ability to crush the enemy", MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said in response to the ruling. "The Givati soldiers deserve a medal not a legal lynching".
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) welcomed the military court's ruling. "The judges showed the appropriate level of balance between meticulously following IDF orders and Jewish moral values and the responsibility for maintaining the initiative and decisiveness of IDF soldiers when in battle", he noted. At the same time Schneller criticized the IDF prosecutor's conduct: "It must examine whether its legal grasp promotes the needed balance."
Roni Sofer contributed to the report
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