Writers Demand Probe Into Civilian Deaths During Gaza Strike

Yesh Gvul, the draft resisters movement, as well as writers S. Yizhar, Sami Michael, Ronit Matalon, Natan Zach and Amos Keinan will bring a petition to the High Court of Justice Tuesday asking the court to order the judge advocate general and the attorney general to investigate whether crimes were committed in the planning of the July 2002 Saleh Shehadeh assassination when a one-ton bomb was dropped on his Gaza house in a densely populated neighborhood, killing him, his wife and 14 neighbors, including nine children.

The 38th article of the petition, which is being argued on their behalf by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sefarad, states that the High Court "is the last stop on the railroad of law enforcement before it leaves the borders of the country."

According to Yishai Menuhin, a Yesh Gvul leader, if the High Court does not provide a satisfactory answer, the group intends to ask one of the international courts, such as in Ireland or Spain, where they deal with war crimes, to examine the issue. "If the State of Israel won't investigate it, someone else will," said Menuhin.

The judge advocate general (JAG) has already turned down a request from Yesh Gvul to investigate, and the attorney general's office turned down a similar request asking the attorney general to order JAG to investigate. "The military police investigate every loss of army equipment, or theft, but refuses to investigate who decided to drop a one-ton bomb in the heart of a crowded neighborhood and if indeed there was no other solution," said a Yesh Gvul spokesman.

At the time of the assassination, army commanders said they decided to go ahead with the risky bombing because Shehadeh was such an important Hamas commander.