Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Why Africa won't embrace Netanyahu

No matter how many technological advancements or solutions to terrorism he offers, Netanyahu won’t be able to convince African states to love Israel before the occupation comes to an end.

By Ilan Baruch

Spokespersons for the Israeli government have recently decided to define Israel’s diplomatic ties with Africa as a strategic goal. During his visit to the continent in July, the Prime Minister’s Office told the media that it hopes the African Union, based in Addis Ababa, will renew Israel’s status as observer. Ethiopia’s prime minister even went so far as to say that “Israel is working hard in many countries in Africa. There is no reason to deny it the status of observer.”

That status was revoked in 2002, when the Organisation of African Unity became the African Union. The president of the union in those days, Muammar Qaddafi, pressured the organization to remove Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian people at the height of the Second Intifada.

Only four African states — Liberia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa — were part of the United Nations when it adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine for the establishment of two independent states, Jewish and Arab, in November 1947 (at the time the UN was made up of 56 states alone). Today there are 194 states in the United Nations, including 56 African countries, of which 15 have no diplomatic ties with Israel. Following the announcement of the renewal of ties between Israel and Guinea, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said that ” The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t re-established ties with Israel is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore.”

On the sidelines of last week’s UN General Assembly, Netanyahu held a closed meeting with 15 heads of state and top officials from various African states. According to a readout released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told the group that “Israel could be an amazing partner for their countries. He said that technology changes everything, including in communications, medicine, agriculture and education,” noting that Israel wants to share its technology with African countries.

For years Israel has been frustrated with the gap between its friendly, bilateral relations with African countries and their tendency to vote in favor of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. Netanyahu opened up his speech at the General Assembly...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

WATCH: 'They want to get rid of the idea of nonviolent resistance'

The Israeli army really wants to see Palestinian nonviolent activist Issa Amro in prison. We ask Issa why he’s facing 18 charges now, and what ‘winning’ would mean for him.

Video by A. Daniel Roth, Aaron Rotenberg

Nonviolent Palestinian organizer Issa Amro has been practicing and teaching nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience in the occupied city of Hebron since 2003, in part through the local activist group he helped establish and operates, Youth Against Settlements. Recently, the Israeli army announced that it plans to prosecute him for 18 separate charges going all the way back to 2010.

Almost all of the charges are related to his political activity and nonviolent action. Under Israeli military law, there is no legal avenue for Palestinians to protest or demonstrate politically. Amro’s activism, much of which is the basis for his current charges, has been reported by +972 here, here, here and here.

+972 sat down to speak with Amro earlier this month. In the three-part video interview below, Amro talks about the charges against him and why he thinks Israel wants to suppress his and others’ nonviolent resistance to the occupation, particularly in Hebron. “Winning,”he explains, would be if the entire Palestinian people adopted nonviolence and civil disobedience as their method of ending the occupation. Amro also discusses the Cinema Hebron project he is working on with Jewish partners from activist groups All That’s Left and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.

Amro was scheduled to have his first court date for the long list of charges on Sunday, but the hearing was delayed at the last minute. Considered a human rights defender by many in the international community, his latest persecution by Israeli military authorities has spurred several activist campaigns and garnered international media attention. Earlier this year, Amnesty International said it believed Amro and another activist from Hebron had been arrested “solely for their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

Issa Amro on the charges against him, and why he believes they are politically motivated:

Issa Amro on what “winning” means in his political struggle:

Issa Amro on the ‘Cinema Hebron’ project and how his and the lives of other Palestinian residents of Hebron are affected by Israeli settlers living in the middle of their city:

View article: AAA
Share article

Israel’s showdown with the UN over immunity for Gazan engineer

By Marian Houk and John Brown*

It didn’t take more than a few hours before the United Nations found out Israeli intelligence agents had arrested one of its Palestinian engineers as he was returning to the Gaza Strip through the Erez military checkpoint.

The very next morning, on July 4, a senior UNDP official in Jerusalem fired off a “Note Verbale” to Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu, that expressed anxiety. “At around 1730 hours while at Erez, Mr. [Waheed] al-Bursh was taken by two security officers, and since then we know nothing about him.”

The UN official, Roberto Valent, asked that Israel provide the grounds for and circumstances of Bursh’s arrest, what charges he might face, and when he might be brought to court. In addition, he asked for access to Bursh “in his place of detention as soon as possible,” and for “assistance in arranging legal representation and the presence of UNDP at any court hearings.”

These requests are part of long-standing procedure codified in a UN 1981 Administrative Instruction and approved in a 1982 UN General Assembly resolution, during the Cold War, when the UN had special concerns for its staff members who were, usually for political reasons, sometimes made to disappear during their “home leave” and secretly jailed, in certain countries.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry was slow to reply (government regulations require written answers in 20 working days). Only when the Shin Bet was ready did the Foreign Ministry launch a high-profile campaign, on August 8. The next day Bursh had his first court hearing, which was held behind closed doors and without the presence of a UN official. In their announcement, Israeli authorities said they “arrested” Bursh on July 16, which means he was held almost two weeks longer — in isolation under interrogation — than Israel has so far publicly acknowledged.

As part of the public campaign it launched surrounding the UN engineer’s arrest, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a Shin Bet statement saying that “Borsh confessed that he did indeed carry out activities that aided Hamas.” The statement also said that “During the Waheed Borsh investigation, it was discovered that he had been instructed by a senior member of the Hamas terrorist organization to redirect his work for UNDP to serve Hamas’ military interests.” In addition, this statement says that “according to Borsh, other Palestinians who work for aid organizations are also working for Hamas,”...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Three Palestinian prisoners reach deal to end hunger strikes

Israel is holding the three men in prison without charge or trial. One of them was in immediate danger of death as a result of nearly 70 days on hunger strike.

By Noam Rotem

Three Palestinian men being held by Israel in administrative detention announced the end of their hunger strikes on Wednesday. The announcements followed negotiations with Israeli authorities, as a result of which their administrative detention orders will not be renewed or extended. One of the three, Malik al-Qadi, is expected to be released from custody on Thursday, and the brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul will be released on December 8.

Israel uses administrative detention orders to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial. Because they are often not even told of what they are accused, it is impossible to defend themselves or successfully challenge the detention order. As of July 31, the latest period for which data was available, Israel was holding 643 Palestinians from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in administrative detention, not including Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Al-Qadi and the Balboul brothers started their hunger strikes more than two months ago. Malik al-Qadi, a communications student at Al-Quds University, stopped eating 68 days ago to protest his administrative detention order. Since then, he went on an “Irish hunger strike,” in which he drank water without any minerals, salts or supplements.

The Balboul brothers, who have been on hunger strike for close to 80 days, also began with an “Irish hunger strike,” but after some 50 days began taking vitamins and minerals in an attempt to prevent irreversible damage to their bodies.

A group of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations sent a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday asking her to intervene in helping to release al-Qadi, saying that “he might have only a few days to live.” The organizations also asked for her help in releasing the Balboul brothers.

“Victory parades” are planned in various locations throughout the West Bank to mark the administrative detainees’ “victories,” although at least two will remain in Israeli detention through the duration of their detention orders.

Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul were arrested in a raid by Israeli soldiers on their home in June, and were put in administrative detention after Shin Bet agents were able to “break” their 14-year-old sister, who also spent three months in jail. Their father was killed by...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Finding Sisyphus in the South Hebron Hills

‘I have the distinct feeling that the next time we come back, none of what we are building will be here.’

By Sarah Stern

I run my hands over small jagged stones, turning over rubble and finding bits of fuzz, broken marble, plastics cups…remains of day-to-day life. I realize there’s something a bit Sisyphean to what we’re doing. I scoop up a pile of rocks and dump it into a bucket, pouring these into the inside of a makeshift wall alongside other Ashkenazi Jews, bright red, oppressed here only by the sun.

We are working with Palestinians from a rural community in the South Hebron Hills. Their structures are technically illegal, so the Israeli army recently demolished them. This happens often. But today, there’s almost 50 of us visitors, and we’re rebuilding. We all eye the yellow gate just meters away that opens to a fully intact illegal Israeli settlement — on the grid, despite our remote location. The doors remain closed on this Shabbat day while we work.

As I’m sifting, I find a stack of right-wing Likud party campaign postcards, most likely from the nearby settlement, but who knows. I once met a serious right-wing supporter who lives in the town of Umm al-Hiran, another Palestinian village slated for demolition, except inside Israel proper. Today we are in Umm el-Kheir, being watched in the West Bank by the face of this politician, wedged on these postcards beneath our work.

Here is where I’m reminded of the Greek Sisyphus, a deviant man whose divine punishment is to forever push a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Like Sisyphus, there’s no respite for the residents of Umm el-Kheir. When they rebuild their homes with metal siding donated by the EU, they know the Israeli government will destroy them. The point of this policy is to make the life of the damned unbearably frustrating.

And then what?

With the campaign postcard in my back-pocket as memorabilia, I watch as Jews and foreigners led by Palestinian hosts, hoist the larger rocks. They stand in line passing the boulders from one hand to the next. This way, no one has to carry the weight alone.

Over where I’m working, a friend whispers to me, “I have the distinct feeling that the next time we come back, none...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

What Israeli leftists can learn from the radical right

Right-wing activists keep suing Israeli police — and winning — for false arrests and other abuses of power. Maybe it’s time the state start paying for its abuses against left-wing activists and Palestinians.

By Yael Marom

Israeli police and prison officials were ordered to pay NIS 30,000 ($8,000) to radical right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein and two of his cohorts from anti-miscegenation hate group Lehava this week. The court-ordered compensation was for an illegal search conducted after they were arrested on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in October 2013. The three filed a civil suit against the state for false arrest, and reached an out-of-court settlement with the state.

This was not the first time radical right-wing activists have hit the State of Israel where it hurts the most — the wallet. Actually, they have turned it into a pretty effective modus operandi. If you have ever wondered why Israeli police let right-wing activists like Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Benzi Gopstein and others, get away with so much — here lies at least part of the explanation.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a radical right-wing activist and seasoned lawyer, manages to sue the State of Israel at almost every opportunity. In 2011, for example, he won NIS 18,000 (just under $5,000) compensation kicked him during the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Three years earlier, in 2008, another court ordered the state to pay him and two other radical right-wing activists NIS 4,500 ($1,200) each for an unjustified detention and interrogation after they celebrated the death of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in 2004.

In January 2013, Ben-Gvir, Marzel, Noam Federman and three other radical right-wing activists won a NIS 62,500 settlement over a false arrest in 2008. Police officers arrested and held the six overnight while they were on their way to the East Jerusalem village of Jabel Mukaber to allegedly try and disperse a gathering at a mourner’s tent for the murderous attack at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in 2008.

Even Likud MK Yehuda Glick successfully sued the state in 2015 for not allowing him to access the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif over the course of several years. The court ordered the state to pay him half a million shekels ($130,000) and another NIS 150,000 ($40,000) in legal costs. Two months earlier, Glick was awarded NIS 7,500 ($2,000) in a civil suit for false arrest. The cash settlements and awards...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Police evict Palestinian family in East Jerusalem

Settler organization Ateret Cohanim has been gradually kicking out every single member of the Kirsh family from their homes since 2010.

By Yael Marom

Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their home in Jerusalem’s Old City earlier this week, at the height of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The nine-member Kirsh family, which includes children and a pregnant woman, has been living in the same home since the 1930s.

Their home was transferred over to Ateret Cohanim — a settler organization known for taking over Palestinian assets in the Old City and turning them over to Jewish families — after it claimed to have purchased it in the 1980s. The home was part of a housing complex where seven of the brothers were renting apartments; six of them, along with their families, were evicted after Ateret Cohanim began taking over the building in July 2010. Today the last of the seven brothers was evicted.

The eviction follows years of legal proceedings that began at the end of the 1990s, after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the appeal trying to stop the eviction last May.

The eviction is part of a wider takeover of Palestinian assets in East Jerusalem by well-funded settler organizations, specifically the area known as the “Holy Basin,” which surrounds the Old City from the south, east, and north. According to Jerusalem-based civil rights group, Ir Amim, settler organizations are presently involved in eviction proceedings against at least six Palestinian families in the Muslim Quarter.

There are around 80 Jewish settler families currently living among the 33,000 Palestinians in the Muslim and Christian quarters. These enclave-settlements are generally protected by private security, which terrifies the Palestinian residents and restricts their movement. When the police are forced to intervene, they choose the side of the settlers. Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who do not live under the Palestinian Authority, are left without any protection.

Ir Amim responded to the eviction:

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew. 

Newsletter banner

View article: AAA
Share article

Police admit arresting Palestinian man to prevent him from protesting

Police arrested Muhammad Abu Hummus to prevent him from peacefully demonstrating against the Jerusalem Marathon — then lied about it.

By John Brown*

In March of this year, Israeli police arrested Muhammad Abu Hummus, a resident of the village Issawiya in East Jerusalem, where he serves as a member of a community organizing committee. He was arrested along with two other residents for alleged disorderly conduct.

At 4 a.m. on March 18, approximately 20 police officers arrived at Abu Hummus’ home and took him to the local police station for interrogation, even though a simple summons would have sufficed. The police, however, did not proceed to interrogate him over disorderly conduct of any sort.

During his detention Abu Hummus claimed that he was being held in order to prevent him from demonstrating against the annual Jerusalem Marathon, which was set to take place that day, partially in East Jerusalem. Lo and behold: after the marathon came to an end, he was released.

When Abu Hummus asked an interrogator at the station whether he was in fact detained to prevent him from protesting, he was told he was mistaken. Even the police spokesperson rejected the claim, telling the press that “the three were arrested over suspicion of involvement in disorderly conduct, with no connection to the marathon.”

Following his arrest Abu Hummus filed a civil suit against the police over false imprisonment and distress. Now the police is admitting in its statement of defense that they lied, and that Abu Hummus was indeed arrested to prevent him from protesting the marathon:

In its statement the police try to defend themselves by arguing that Abu Hummus’ did not coordinate his demonstration with them ahead of time, and thus they feared it would devolve into disorderly conduct. According to the law, however, there is no need to coordinate this kind of protest with the police.

‘We don’t do Gandhi very well’

The persecution of Muhammad Abu Hummus did not begin with this year’s marathon. For quite some time the police has been working against activists from East Jerusalem who have chosen nonviolence as a way to protest Israeli policies. Abu Hummus told +972’s sister site, Local Call:

A day before that Abu Hummus’ son was assaulted by police after he was accused by a settler of attacking him.

The attempt by both the police and the army to put down all nonviolent protest isn’t...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Colin Powell acknowledges 200 Israeli nukes

In leaked emails the former secretary of state acknowledges Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which he is pointed at Tehran.

By Eli Clifton

According to hacked emails reviewed by foreign policy website LobeLog, former Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged Israel’s nuclear arsenal, an open secret that U.S. and Israeli politicians typically refuse to acknowledge as part of Israel’s strategy of “nuclear ambiguity.” Powell also rejected assessments that Iran, at the time, was “a year away” from a nuclear weapon.

The emails, released by the hacking group, DCLeaks, show Powell discussing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before a joint meeting of Congress with his business partner, Jeffrey Leeds.

Powell responded that U.S. negotiators can’t get everything they want from a deal. But echoing a point that many Iran hawks have questioned, Powell said that Israel’s nuclear arsenal and rational self-interest make the construction and testing of an Iranian nuclear weapon a highly unlikely policy choice for Iran’s leaders. Leeds summarizes Netanyahu as having “said all the right things about the president and all the things he has done to help Israel. But basically [he] said this deal sucks, and the implication is that you have to be an idiot not to see it.”

Powell wrote:

Israel, which isn’t a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has long maintained ambiguity about the size, and even the existence, of its nuclear weapons program.

Later in the email chain, Powell acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium for nuclear power, said that sanctions alone wouldn’t be enough to “break” Iran, and pointed out that the assessment that Iran could make a dash for the bomb and construct a nuclear weapon within a year was exaggerated.

Powell wrote:

Powell ultimately supported the nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration, telling Meet The Press that “It’s a pretty good deal,” on September 6, 2015. In the lead up to his endorsement, Powell had harsh words for foreign policy experts who stayed on the sidelines or opposed the deal.

On August 30, 2015, Powell wrote to Ken Duberstein, President Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff, who suggested that Powell might refrain from endorsing the deal in a television interview where he would face questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Powell said he could handle the political questions, defended the deal to Duberstein as a “good one for the country,” and blasted Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The ethnic cleansing of al-Sindiyana

True reconciliation can only begin once we acknowledge past injustices. And there’s a lot to own up to.

By Noam Rotem

When Prime Minister Netanyahu released a video blaming Palestinians for wanting to commit ethnic cleansing against Israeli settlers last week, he may have touched on a topic that hits a little too close to home: Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 — the Nakba.

One of the villages that was erased during that ethnic cleansing was al-Sindiyana, a lively village that stood on a hilltop on the southern edge of the Carmel Mountain. Proof of its existence goes back to the 18th century, and the village appears in the maps and reports of many researchers and tourists from the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, including Ottoman and British land registries that list the number of village houses, the different types of agriculture grown there, and details about its residents.

Named after the oak trees that surround it, al-Sindiyana was ethnically cleansed in 1948 by the Irgun (Etzel) and Lehi (Stern Gang) militias. Its residents were expelled, some of them were murdered, and the dozens of homes left abandoned were blown up. Today, only the stones that were once part of those homes lay strewn across the field.

Like in many other Palestinian villages, al-Sindiyana’s residents had good relations with their Jewish neighbors. The Miqbel family, for instance, cooperated with the residents of Zichron Ya’akov, and more than once prevented Palestinians from attacking them and their property. When Sabri Hamed, a local gang leader, came to uproot Zichron Ya’akov’s vineyards, members of the Miqbel family convinced him to refrain from doing so. When they refused to compensate him for his “losses” incurred by not raiding the vineyards, Hamed murdered Sheikh Miqbel, his wife, and two of his children. Even when a group of Arab irregulars reached Sabbarin, the Palestinian village adjacent to al-Sindiyana (which was also ethnically cleansed in 1948), the residents demanded the militia leave, as the former wanted to surrender to the Jews.

‘We sent them away’

None of that helped the residents. On May 13, 1948, HaMashkif, a newspaper owned by the Revisionist movement, wrote that “the cleansing of the Efraim Mountains continues”:

The commander of one of the platoons, Moshe Nir (Wagner), who was known by his nom de guerre, Nachson, provided a testimony to the Irgun archives nine years after the expulsion:

According to Nir, in...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

High Court green-lights torture of Palestinian hunger strikers

According to the court’s ruling, force feeding, universally recognized as a form of torture, is a legitimate tool to use against hunger strikers.

By Noam Rotem

For the past two months three Palestinians have been on hunger strike over their administrative detention without trial. The three are the brothers Mahmoud Balboul (a police chief), Muhammad Balboul (a dentist), and Malk al-Qadi (a journalist). On Sunday Israel’s High Court ruled that the force-feeding law, which allows Israeli authorities to forcibly feed hunger striking prisoners against their will if their health condition is deemed to be life-threatening is able to balance between the public interest of the sanctity of life on the one hand, and the damage to human dignity and freedom of speech on the other. Or in other words: the High Court justices accepted the possibility that the three hunger strikers be force fed.

Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul were arrested in a raid by Israeli soldiers on their home in June, and were put in administrative detention after Shin Bet agents were able to “break” their 14-year-old sister, who also spent three months in jail. Their father was killed by Israel soldiers over 10 years ago. The IDF Spokesperson’s stated that the “two were involved in severe military activities while endangering the security of the area.”

Malk al-Qadi, a 20-year-old journalist, began his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention on July 15. Al-Qadi was arrested on May 23, was interrogated, and put in administrative detention after the Shin Bet decided not to charge him. Last Friday his mother was summoned to Holon’s Wolfson Hospital, where he is hospitalized, after he had allegedly fallen into a coma. The IDF Spokesperson has yet to respond to questions about the reasons for his arrest.

“A complex issue — in its humane, moral, and legal aspects — is before us,” writes Justice Noam Solberg in the ruling. “The sanctity of life; state security; the right to autonomy; the right to equality; freedom of speech; the state’s responsibility vis-a-vis its prisoners — all these are mixed up in this case.” It took over 100 pages for the justices to explain why force feeding, a practice that is recognized by medical institutions worldwide as a form of torture, is actually okay.

In their ruling the Israeli justices lay out a series of arguments about why the hunger strikers must be force fed: firstly, they write, the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Turning settlers into victims

Netanyahu accuses two-state supporters of advocating ethnic cleansing. But state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing and human rights violations are what enabled the Jewish settlers to occupy Palestinian lands in the first place.

By Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon

Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he cares about the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza more than the Palestinian leadership does, he posted a new video message on his Facebook wall, arguing that any future dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the West Bank would amount to “ethnic cleansing.” He went on to intimate that insofar as the U.S. and other western countries support the uprooting of Israeli settlements as part of an agreement with the Palestinians, they were, in effect, supporting the cleansing of Jews.

“Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without Blacks,” he rhetorically asked, thus drawing a direct link between the settlers in the colonized Palestinian territories and racially discriminated citizens in the United States.

Netanyahu’s description of any potential evacuation of the West Bank colonies reflects the ethics of settler colonialism in which any attempt to dislocate the settlers is now equated with injustice. Unwilling to acknowledge that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and 1967, and that they continue to live under the constant threat of displacement as a direct result of his own government’s policies, Netanyahu depicts Israeli and thus Jewish settlers’ disengagement from the occupied West Bank, which constitutes a mere 22 percent of Mandatory Palestine, as an egregious violation of the rights of Jewish settlers. The irony is, of course, that these settlers initially colonized this land after it was captured in the 1967 war at the behest of the state.

Moreover, by invoking the phrase ethnic cleansing of Jews, Netanyahu is clearly mobilizing a concept that is deeply ingrained in Jewish collective memory and comprises a red line not only for the Israeli State but also for the international community. In fact, he is actually repeating a refrain first invoked by Israel’s well-known Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who in 1969 defined the return to the pre-1967 borders as “something of a memory of Auschwitz.”

Through the metaphor of “the memory of Auschwitz,” Abba Eban suggested that a withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 would correspond to another genocide...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Two years after Gaza war, not a single war crime indictment

The Israeli military’s law enforcement system and its flawed investigative mechanisms appear primarily geared toward protecting the armed forces instead of civilians, thus allowing impunity to prevail.

By Muna Haddad

Two years after the Israeli military offensive on Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” more than half of the civilian structures destroyed during the war have yet to be reconstructed, and Palestinian residents of the coastal strip are still finding bones amongst the ruins. And two years after that devastating offensive, Israeli authorities are again proving what previous experience with the Israeli system has long made clear: Israel is unwilling to conduct genuine, independent investigations into suspected war crimes, and does not hold those responsible to account, as required by international law.

At total of 2,251 Palestinians were killed during the 2014 war, most of them civilians, including 299 women and 551 children. More than 18,000 civilian structures were destroyed, including hospitals and essential infrastructure. Despite this unprecedented destruction and human suffering, Israel has failed to file even a single indictment against any military figure for killing or wounding civilians or for destruction of civilian structures.

As was the case in the wake of previous Israeli attacks on Gaza, such as “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-2009, low-level soldiers were disciplined for looting. The Military Advocate General (MAG) investigated and filed indictments against two soldiers for looting, and against one additional soldier for acting as an accomplice in the looting of a Palestinian home in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza. This is the same neighborhood in which an Israeli assault between the 19th and 20th of July 2014 killed 55 civilians, including 19 children and 14 women.

A joint report prepared by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza), marking two years since the Israeli offensive, examined the status of 27 complaints the two organizations submitted to the Israeli attorney general and MAG between July and September 2014. Adalah and Al Mezan demanded independent investigations on suspicions of grave violations of international law during the military offensive.

The report reveals that in 15 incidents in which multiple Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded, and in which massive damage was caused to civilian property, the MAG’s probes into these cases are still being conducted in a sluggish and convoluted manner and have yet to be concluded.

...Read More
View article: AAA
Share article
© 2010 - 2016 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel