The victim was working on the roof of a building in Deir al-Balah, near the settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip in the early morning of Monday, October 27, 2003, when he was suddenly shot in the leg. The shots came from the direction of a military post located near the settlement. He was evacuated to hospital suffering damage to the artery and nerves in his right leg.
On 23 July, 2007, the Military Judge Advocate General’s office (JAG) announced that it had decided to close the case, despite the fact that military sources confirmed shots were indeed fired in the direction of “two people on top of a roof which was under construction, while one of them was standing up and the other was sitting down making notes.” The JAG’s office did not attempt to claim that the two were engaged in any sort of activity and all it did say was that there was “suspicion of involvement in terrorism.” It must be noted: it was never claimed that they were holding firearms or cold weapons, nor was it hinted that they were collecting intelligence or aiding a third person. It seems that all they did wrong was to be in that place at that time.
The military did nothing to apprehend the “suspects.” As stated in the notice issued by the JAG’s office, “warning shots were fired at them, and when this had no effect, shots were fired in the direction of the legs of each of them.” How could warning shots in the air be effective in a case like this? What is a person who is not aware of being suspected of anything to do? Why are people so easily shot!?
The faults of the JAG continue: The case was closed since “on the one hand there was no connection between the complaint and the event reported in the operations log and, on the other hand, there were no findings as to the identity of the force that fired the alleged shots.” This, despite the fact that in the preceding sentence it was determined that “IDF soldiers in the post in the settlement of Kfar Darom” were the ones who fired the shots at a person who was located on a rooftop. Was it that difficult for the military investigators to locate the force that was at that post that day and interrogate the soldiers?
The JAG’s notice reveals, therefore, that this was not unusual behaviour by an individual soldier. This was probably a procedure according to which one may shoot at suspects even if they did not do anything. One may shoot a person even when the force firing the shots did no make sure that the suspect understands that he is under suspicion or that he understands that “warning shots” were fired at him. It is permissible to shoot a person standing on a rooftop in the Gaza Strip.