Israeli soldier cleared in girl-killing case; gov't pays him $17,000

Payment for Israeli soldier decried
Hundreds of children have been killed since the intifada's start

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Monday 27 March 2006, 18:18 Makka Time, 15:18 GMT

"The outgoing Palestinian Authority government and the incoming Hamas-led administration have condemned the payment of compensation to an Israeli soldier after a court cleared him of killing a Palestinian schoolgirl in 2004.

"The soldier will receive 82,000 shekels (roughly $17,000) as part of an arrangement reached between his lawyers and the Israeli military prosecutor, the Israeli press reported last week.

"The compensation was awarded to cover legal expenses and damages. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the court 'agreed to compensate him because it was convinced that he was wronged'. Yousuf Rizqa, the new PA minister of information, described the acquittal in the killing of Iman Al Hams, 13, and the compensation as 'infinitely scandalous and defying logic and morality'. 'In every country in this world, child killers are prosecuted and punished. In Israel, not only child killers are not punished, they are actually rewarded,' Rizqa told Aljazeera.net.

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