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.I wonder what would happen in victims of rocket attacks would sue Hamas in a Gaza court? Maybe PCHR can represent them and fight for a fair trial.
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.”
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