Israel's military is for the first time to prosecute a soldier for killing civilians during the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war, said the Army on Tuesday, while dismissing dozens of other cases.

The Army said it would press manslaughter charges against a soldier for allegedly shooting dead two Palestinian women who were waving white flags, in one of several disciplinary steps to be taken after an internal investigation.

“The Military Advocate-General has decided to indict a number of officers and soldiers for their conduct during the operation,” said an Army statement.

Among those to be disciplined was a battalion commander accused of sending a Palestinian civilian into a house to persuade gunmen to leave, while a criminal investigation has also been ordered into the bombing of a housing complex.

The 22-day offensive, launched in an attempt to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, left around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

However, the Army also said it was dismissing dozens of other incidents, many of which were raised in the U.N. Goldstone report on alleged war crimes by both Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers. These were dismissed because “according to the rules of warfare, no faults were found in the forces' actions,” said the statement. “In other cases, there was not enough evidence proving that legal measures needed to be taken.”

In the case of the soldier charged with shooting the women, the Army said it did not press more severe charges because of discrepancies between the testimony of the witnesses and that of the soldiers at the scene.


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