- Feb 12, 2007
Human Shield Boy Blasts Soldiers' Sentence
A nine-year-old Palestinian boy, used as a human shield by two Israeli soldiers, has said they should have been jailed.
The pair forced the child to search for suspected booby traps while they kept their distance during Operation Cast Lead last year.
Israeli military prosecutors had called for stiff sentences and time behind bars but the military court handed down suspended three-month sentences and a demotion in rank.
Judges said they took into account the soldiers' good records and the conditions they were operating under.
But the boy, Majed Rabah, said he was angry they had not gone to jail. "It's unfair. They should have been jailed for a year or two."
His mother, Afaf, called for the Israelis to be brought before an international war crimes court.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the sentence as "soft".
Israel calls its army the most moral in the world. But its conduct during last year's Gaza offensive has been mired in controversy.
A UN-commissioned report by South African judge Richard Goldstone accused Israel and Hamas of grave violations of human rights during the war.
Israel claims to have been unfairly singled out for criticism by the report. Supporters of the two soldiers in this case claim they were being made scapegoats in the wake of the Goldstone report.
A number of Israeli Knesset members have called for the country's President to commute the sentences and expunge the criminal records of the soldiers.
In a letter to President Shimon Peres they described the punishment as an "unnecessary mark of shame".