Tel Aviv – A Palestinian family who lost 29 members in Israel’s recent offensive in Gaza filed a law suit Tuesday against the Israeli leadership, demanding some 200 million dollars in compensation, Israeli media reported.
The Samouni family, from the southern Gaza City suburb of Zaytoun, filed the suit at a court in northern Israel against outgoing Israeli premier Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
In the morning of January 4, an Israeli tank shell hit the family’s three-story building, killing seven of its members.
Their apartment was burnt down completely and the survivors took refuge in a shelter, but the day after they arrived at the shelter, that building was shelled too and 22 more were killed. Both shellings also injured 45 other family members, most of them children aged eight to 14, said the lawsuit filed at the District Court of the northern Arab-Israeli town of Nazareth.
The suit accuses the Israeli military of “criminal negligence” by killing innocent civilians who were seeking refugee in their home and a shelter.
The soldiers who fired the shells did so in utter disregard of the innocent civilians present in the area of the fighting, it charged.
“This is not the only lawsuit,” Attorney Mohammed Fukra told reporters at the court. The Samouni family approached me last week and I imagine that in the coming weeks similar lawsuits will be filed.”
A Palestinian family from the northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabaliya, 11 of whose children were killed in an Israeli strike, filed a lawsuit already last week, demanding more than 40 million dollars in compensation.
Some 1,300 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed during 22 days of intense Israeli airstrikes and ground shelling in the densely-populated coastal enclave in December and January. Israel launched the deadly and destructive offensive in response to ongoing, near-daily rocket attacks from Gaza at its southern towns and villages.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed by rockets and in ground fighting.
Israeli courts have in the past consistently rejected lawsuits filed by Palestinians harmed in the conflict, arguing that they were hurt in times of war. (dpa)