Ref: 77/2011

 

The Legal Aid Unit of the Palestinian Center
for Human Rights (PCHR) was able to ensure reparation for the family of Raya
Salama Abdul Karim Abu Hajjaj, 64, and Majeda Abdul Karim Abu Hajjaj, 37, from
Juhor al-Dik area, southeast of Gaza City, who were killed by Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF) during “Operation Cast Lead” (27 December 2008 – 18
January 2009). PCHR was able to conclude
a settlement with representatives of the Israeli military prosecution, under
which an amount of 500,000 NIS (approximately US$ 147,000) would be paid to
victims’ family in return for closing the claim. Procedures to hand this amount to the family
are currently ongoing. 

 

On 04 January 2009, during IOF’s ground
operation in various areas in the Gaza Strip, IOF seized control over the
northern entrance of Juhor al-Dik village, southeast of Gaza City, and fired a
number of shells at Palestinian civilians and property. IOF then ordered residents of the area to
leave it. Soon, many civilians, mostly
women and children, got out of their houses raising white flags. When they got as close as to 100 meters from the Abu
Hajaj family’s house, Israeli soldiers positioned in the area opened fire at
them. As a result, Raya Abu Hajaj, and
her daughter, Majeda Abu Hajjaj, were killed. IOF denied access of medical crews to the area. When a ceasefire was declared on 18 January
2009, medical crews were able to evacuate the bodies from the victims from
beneath the debris.

 

On 19 February 2009, the Abu Hajjaj family
referred to PCHR and granted it a power of attorney to take necessary legal
action concerning his death. PCHR
submitted complaints to the compensation officer of the Israeli Ministry of
Defense and the Israeli military prosecution of the southern command, in which
it demanded opening an investigation into the attack and holding the
perpetrators accountable. 

 

To ensure reparation for the family, on 14 July
2010, PCHR filed a compensation claim before the Magistrate Court of Haifa
demanding compensation for the family for the death of the two women by
IOF. PCHR supported its claim by
evidences confirming IOF’s responsibility for the two women’s death. Consequently, the Israeli prosecution sought
to close the claim through a settlement, under which an amount of 500,000 NIS
would be paid to al-Sawarka’s family in return for closing the claim. The court approved this settlement. 

 

This is a judicial precedent, as it is the
first time that PCHR is able to ensure compensation for victims of “Operation
Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip. PCHR is
following up hundreds of claims on behalf of victims of the Israeli offensive
on the Gaza Strip, known as “Operation Cast Lead.”

 

PCHR will continue its efforts to prosecute
suspected Israeli war criminals before Israeli courts, or national courts of
other countries on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction, to
ensure that Israeli war criminals do not evade justice, and to ensure
reparation for thousands of Palestinian civilians who have been affected by
Israeli practices and crimes.