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Conviction rate for Palestinians in Israel's military courts: 99.74%

Abdallah Abu Rahmah at the Ofer Military Court. Photo by Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Abdullah Abu Rahmah at the Ofer Military Court. Photo by Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Unlike Jews, Palestinians under Israeli control in the West Bank are tried in military courts, where the rights of defendants rights are minimal, and the prosecution enjoys a low burden of proof and – most importantly – wears the same uniforms as the judges – IDF uniforms. In a military court, the testimony of a soldier who arrested a Palestinian can be enough to send a minor to prison. The results are staggering: Palestinians have no chance to walk free from an Israeli trial.

A new internal IDF document revealed today by Haaretz shows that in 2010, 99.74 percent of the trials of Palestinians  in Israeli military courts ended in convictions. That’s 25 acquittals, out of 9,542 cases.

It seems that the system is getting better: In 2006, a report by Human Rights NGO Yesh Din showed that 99.71 percent of Palestinian defendants in Israeli military courts were convicted. That’s 26 acquittals out of 8,854.

Between 2005-2010, 835 Palestinian minors were accused of stone-throwing in Israeli military courts. One was acquitted.

Military justice is to justice as military music is to music, the saying goes. The system that Israel employs to arrest, prosecute and punish Palestinians over the last almost half century is the best proof of that.

Read more on the Israeli military court system:

Hope ends here: The children’s court at Ofer Military Prison

In the West Bank, there is no justice, even for children

New film tackles military justice system in the West Bank

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    1. Piotr Berman

      I think that military music is unfairly characterized. I mean, many military bands offer very good performances. The style may be peculiar, but the best bands can be invited to concert halls.

      Concerning the performance of military prosecutors, perhaps have very rigorous standards for detention and prosecution. One can compare with the fate of Jewish suspects detained on suspicion of stone throwing, price tag vandalism etc. Without stats, most seemed to be released for the lack of evidence. Some see it as the proof that ultra leftist security authorities apply a double standards: detain Jews with very flimsy evidence and detain Arabs only with iron-clad evidence. (Although I am not convinced, this argument should be addressed.)

      What is totally baffling is why military courts also apply administrative detention which does not require any proof or formal accusation. Perhaps there is some kind of standard: convict with a hint of evidence, administrative detention otherwise?

      Reply to Comment
    2. directrob

      It is a pity that you used the word Justice in your last sentence. What happens in the west bank has nothing to do with justice, not even military justice.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Edithann

      I can’t believe there are only 2 comments to this very, very telling article.
      My only conclusion is you’re all struggling with the truth. It’s hard to reconcile both truth and conscience..
      How could you all be so blind and for so long?


      Reply to Comment
    4. Who wouldn’t defend their land? you haven’t tell the whole truth, this man must committed something!! something the put him an isolated cage. you ought to furnish the truth nothing but the truth or silent is golden

      Reply to Comment
    5. Edithann

      @ Shame…

      What part of 99% conviction rate for Palestinians don’t you understand?

      What do you do when both are defending their land? Which fighter has priority?


      Reply to Comment