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international law

  • Demolishing Palestinian structures is the norm — not the exception

    A sharp increase in demolitions of structures in the West Bank displaces over 120 Palestinians, drawing media attention and a harsh response from the United Nations. Over August 17-18 Israeli authorities demolished around 40 Palestinian structures in the West Bank, displacing over 120 Palestinians. The demolitions were carried out during a record-breaking heat wave that has hit Israel-Palestine over the past week. [tmwinpost] Monday's total of 22 demolitions — in the Ma'ale Adumim area of the West Bank — displaced 78 Palestinians (including 49 children), the highest such number in one day since October 2012. Tuesday saw 17 structures demolished in the…

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  • The oddity of finding hope while investigating war crimes

    +972 speaks with Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, authors of the UNHRC report on potential war crimes in Gaza. The pair discuss possible consequences of the report, and why their investigation gave them hope. By Dahlia Scheindlin and Natasha Roth The main reaction in Israel to the findings of the United Nation’s commission of inquiry into last summer’s Gaza war was rejection. That response tops a process so fraught with politics, that it seemed unlikely the commission would be able to say anything meaningful at all. Israel views the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the body that commissioned the…

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  • Lessons from the UN Gaza report: Next stop, ICC?

    The Human Rights Council's independent inquiry is full of suspicions of war crimes. More important is what it has to say about how Israel investigates those allegations, and what that means for the International Criminal Court. To the relief of Israel and the chagrin of many others, the UN report into last summer’s war in Gaza is not an indictment of Israel. It does not declare conclusively that Israel committed war crimes and it is certainly not one-sided. The Human Rights Council report released on Monday is valuable, nevertheless, when read as a preview of what might transpire in a…

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  • There's no nice way of building settlements in occupied territory

    Those familiar with the system know that as long as settlement construction continues, the abuse and intimidation of the Palestinian civilian population will be maintained. By Gerard Horton UNICEF, the UN body tasked with providing humanitarian aid to children in developing countries, recently issued an update on the progress made regarding the treatment of minors held in Israeli military detention. In its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention, UNICEF reviewed over 400 sworn testimonies collected from minors who came in contact with Israel's military system, and concluded that ill-treatment “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process,”…

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  • Judges aren't cogs in the occupation, they're the oil keeping it going

    A new report maps out the two separate legal systems in the occupied territories — one for Jews and one for Arabs. At a launch event for the report, senior jurists showed up and argued it's not their fault whatsoever. Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner asked: What can we do? The answer: A lot. (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) There was something mesmerizing about listening to representatives of the legal establishment speak at a conference held by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) last week. Mesmerizing and terrifying. The hardest thing was hearing Dalia Dorner —…

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  • Abiding by international law — when it's convenient

    Israeli institutions seek to obtain the benefits of the international legal order while refusing to accept the corresponding burdens and obligations. By Gerard Horton For some time now the Israeli army's Military Courts’ Unit has distributed a five-page briefing paper to foreign delegations visiting military courts in the West Bank. The briefing paper is intended to persuade the reader that the military courts — which have been used to prosecute approximately 755,000 Palestinian men, women and children since 1967 — were established, and are currently operating, in accordance with international law. The document commences with the following statement: The Military…

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  • Israel’s High Court chooses occupation over international law

    In at least two major decisions, Israel’s top court has shown it is prepared to uphold grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounting to war crimes, and to give its implicit endorsement to unlawful discrimination. By Gerard Horton Sitting as the High Court of Justice, Israel’s Supreme Court has heard thousands of petitions submitted on behalf of Palestinians living under military occupation since 1967. This gives rise to an unusual situation whereby the highest civilian court in Israel permits individuals, who could be considered as enemy aliens, to submit petitions challenging the actions of Israel’s military in occupied territory.…

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  • Why the IDF cannot be trusted to investigate itself

    The occupation is violence: costly to the occupied, cheap for the occupiers. Only a credible, independent and effective inquiry into IDF actions can begin to make that violence costly to its perpetrators. By Hagai El-Ad (translated by Keren T Rubinstein) Recently it was announced that the IDF had already begun looking into 99 incidents that took place during Operation Defensive Shield. Of these, a criminal inquiry was initiated in five cases, while seven other cases have already been closed. Seemingly, this is commendable news. Alas, experience proves otherwise. Time after time, official and quite ceremonious promises to establish the truth after…

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  • The U.S. is also guilty in Palestine

    When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong – deadly wrong. By Sam Bahour The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using…

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  • Leading Israeli human rights group stops cooperating with IDF

    In a move that could strengthen the case for international investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes, B'Tselem says it will no longer share its current Gaza case files with the country's Military Advocate General. Human rights watchdog declares that Israel is unable and unwilling to investigate alleged war crimes committed by its own soldiers. Citing "severe structural flaws" in the Israeli military's internal investigation mechanisms and a history of dismissing criminal allegations against military personnel, leading Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem announced on Sunday that it would not comply with a military request to share details of its independent investigations into alleged Israeli abuses…

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  • 'Despite reforms, IDF still mistreating Palestinian children'

    Nearly two years after Israel said it would work to improve its treatment of the Palestinian children it detains, there have been a few small positive developments. But ill-treatment of Palestinian minors still appears to be ‘widespread, systematic and institutionalized,' a report by Military Court Watch says. By Gerard Horton In September 2011, a delegation of nine lawyers from the UK, including a former attorney general and Court of Appeal judge, visited Israel-Palestine to investigate the treatment of children in Israel’s military judicial system. The resulting report – Children in Military Custody – published in June 2012, found that Israel’s military detention…

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  • The return of punitive home demolitions

    Israel orders the demolition of the family home of a man who has only been charged, and not convicted, of murder. A government official says the policy is being reinstated to 'level the playing field' with Palestinians, while human rights groups say the practice only harms innocents. The Israeli government announced that it will return to demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected and convicted of involvement in terrorism and other violence. The first demolition order was issued against the family home of a man accused of murdering an off-duty police officer and wounding his family earlier this year. Israeli…

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  • Beyond mission creep: Why Operation Brother’s Keeper isn’t working

    Eleven days later, Israel’s latest operation has been a costly, disruptive rampage that seemingly aims to incite rather than stabilize. By Julie M. Norman Israel’s "Operation Brother’s Keeper" is not working. It is also exploitative, legally questionable, and strategically absurd. Launched 11 days ago, the operation has yielded no new information regarding the location or well-being of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, the three teenagers who were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank last Thursday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Hamas is responsible for the abduction, yet no evidence has been made public, and…

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