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Israeli Security Forces Hit With Legal Actions Over Treatment of Palestinians - 2004-03-20


Israel's security forces have been hit with a series of legal actions over their treatment of Palestinians. At least one officer is to be charged with manslaughter, and a Palestinian youth has been awarded financial compensation after being severely wounded. Israeli military prosecutors say they will issue an indictment against an army officer in connection with the deaths of four Palestinians, three of them children.

The officer is to be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The decision relates to a June 2002 incident in the West Bank town of Jenin, which at the time had been placed under a military curfew.

Israeli forces encountered hundreds of Palestinian residents in the streets, who, they believed, had deliberately disobeyed orders not to stay indoors.

The company commander, a colonel, allegedly fired two tank shells into what he mistakenly believed was an empty area of Jenin, to disperse the crowds. The shells killed the four Palestinians and wounded dozens of others.

Lawyers for the officer are attempting to have the charges dropped in favor of disciplinary action.

In a separate case, the Jerusalem District Court ruled this week in favor of a young Palestinian man wounded by Israeli security forces. He was struck by a rubber bullet in the first week of the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000.

Mohammed Juda was 16 years old when he was fired upon during riots in Jerusalem's Walled Old City. Since then, he has been paralyzed from the neck down.

The court ruled that his parents be awarded about half a million dollars in compensation.

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