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New UN Secretary General report slams Israeli occupation justice system

In the last twenty-four hours, so much attention has been given to Palestinians with Israeli “blood on their hands” being released from prison, but little-to-no attention has been given to Israelis with Palestinian “blood on their hands” who never went to prison in the first place. A new report by the United Nation’s Secretary General calls into question the double standard.

In one of the harshest reports, if not THE harshest reports, issued by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon has strongly criticized Israel’s continued post-1967 occupation of Palestinian territory, the expansion of its population into those territories, and – notably – the continued attacks against the Arab population that already lives there and the impunity for the Israelis involved in those attacks. Secretary Ban’s report goes further to suggest that in many cases, the Israeli military is not only complicit in the attacks against the Palestinian population, but sometimes supportive or directly involved.

The report offers a number of examples of lacking justice:

On 27 January 2011, an 18-year-old Palestinian grazing his goats on his land was shot dead at point blank range by a settler on Palestinian land south of the village of Iraq Burin. Footage of the killing captured by a security camera appeared in various media.

On 15 February 2011, an 18-year-old Palestinian from the village of Jalud south of Nablus, which is surrounded by six Israeli settlements and ‘outputs,’ was shot in his stomach with live ammunition by one of three settlers from a distance of about 40 metres. The settlers then fled towards Kida settlement.

On 7 March 2011, a group of at least 12 settlers from the ‘outpost’ of Esh Kodesh…attacked Palestinians from…Qusra. Three of the settlers were armed with a handgun and two rifles while the rest were carrying baseball bats and metal bars. The settlers hurled stones at the Palestinians and fired guns in the air, before physically assaulting the Palestinians. Israel Defense Forces soldiers reached the scene 30 to 45 minutes later, but…acted only in support of the settlers…. [One Palestinian] victim was shot in the leg from a distance of some 30 metres by an Israel Defense Forces soldier. Once on the ground he was shot again from close range in the other leg by the same….soldier. While trying to flee, [he] was hit in the leg and kicked in the face by a settler with a wooden stick, in the presence of the…soldier who had just shot him.

The report also notes that many attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank at the hands of Israeli settlers go unreported through official Israeli channels, as is required, because doing so involves the Palestinian going to an Israeli police station inside one of the nearby settlements. Even if they are able to overcome the trauma of the recent attack in order to file such a report, they need to first obtain permission from the Israeli military to actually enter the settlement to reach the police station.

According to Israeli law, the military has an obligation to protect the Palestinian population. A response letter from the Israeli military sent to the human rights organization, Yesh Din, notes:

…in the absence of police presence, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces are responsible…and must disperse all parties present in order to preserve the evidence intact until the police arrive.

It goes on to note:

…[soldiers] are authorized, as well as obligated, to detain and even arrest those suspected of criminal activity.

The report then criticizes what it sees as a double-standard in the Israeli judicial system. It notes that if a violent crime is committed against a Palestinian in the West Bank at the hands of Israeli settlers, little is done to catch the culprit. However if a settler suffers so much as a scratch, Israeli authorities “mobilize vast resources to apprehend the perpetrator.” To see this in action, one need only remember Israel’s response to the attack on the Itamar settlement on March 11th, in which five members of the same family were killed, and the subsequent crackdown on the nearby Palestinian village of Awarta.

In the report’s recommendation, Ban calls on Israel to “bring its policies and practices into compliance with its international legal obligations.” He says the government should “immediately cease the transfer of its civilian population into occupied territory” and “should take all necessary measures to prevent attacks by Israeli settlers [already living there] against Palestinian civilians and their property.” Ban urges the Netanyahu government to “ensure that all serious allegations concerning criminal acts committed by settlers or the Israel Defense Forces are subject to independent, impartial, effective, thorough and prompt investigations, in accordance with international standards.”

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    1. Hard to imagine a worse indictment of Israel and its laws, army, police, and justice system than these allegations. ALSO, showing WHY settlement is properly banned under international law and why Israeli lawlessness (in implementing its program of settlement) is not merely a FORMAL VIOLATION OF UNIMPORTANT LAW but a REAL, VICIOUS VIOLATION OF IMPORTANT LAW.

      The settlers should all be removed, ASAP, and the settlements demolished (with the wall) ASAP. AS A MATTER OF LAW.

      Reply to Comment
    2. ..::bEEp::..

      I predict that within one week of this report, Ban Ki-Moon will be labeled an anti-semite.

      Reply to Comment
    3. RichardNYC

      But all the Palestinian murderers are being let out, so where is the double standard? Its almost like the situation is an ongoing war…

      Reply to Comment
    4. Taoist

      Thanks for reporting on that report. Good counterpoint to Netanyahu’s Shalit show.


      Reply to Comment
    5. Palestinian

      Justice and Israel ? he must be kidding
      @ Richy , those Palestinians were freed but Israeli terrorists are leading the country and army

      Reply to Comment
    6. RichardNYC

      Not relevant to my point, which is that both Israeli and Palestinian murders don’t necessarily face justice, for political reasons.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Palestinian

      @ Richy , its totally relevant , how many Israeli murderers have been brought to court or sentenced ? How come murderers win elections and lead political parties ?

      Reply to Comment
    8. RichardNYC

      Please don’t deliberately pretend not to understand what I’m saying. A double standard would exist if Palestinian murderers were brought to justice and Israeli murderers were not. That is not the case, even if Israelis enjoy impunity, since many Palestinians also enjoy impunity. Accusing Israeli politicians of murder does not compromise this point.
      –>I’m not suggesting that this is a good thing, or that Israel does not have to follow the law of occupation. My larger point is that Ban Ki Moon’s report, and activism that prefers futile legal posturing to political pragmatism is a waste of time and energy.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Palestinian

      @ Richy , I dont pretend I dont understand , and its not about impunity , its about murderers running the country.Big lol @ law of occupation , sounds like law of stealing or law of rape , you can steal and rape but according to certain regulations written by the most professional burglar and rapist.I would love to see what would the USA , Britain, Germany and the rest of the gang do if another country tried to occupy them.Hypocrites will always be hypocrites along with their daughters.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Mikesailor

      I find it all too common that Israeli apologists like Richard somehow defend a ‘justice’ system which is all too unjust. Israelis don’t enjoy impunity when it comes to committing crimes against palestinians? Give me a break.
      The only thing more remarkable is how the vaunted Israeli media has decided to ignore this story. All Shalit all the time has become the mantra with no discussion of this report allowed. Why?

      Reply to Comment
    11. RichardNYC

      ok…well I tried to take you seriously but you’re not actually reading my comments. Venting the same ideas again and again is boring dude.

      Reply to Comment
    12. RichardNYC

      I’m not defending the occupation’s ‘justice’ system; I’m saying that the solution to the problem isn’t legal reform on the Israeli end, its a political solution to the larger problem of occupation and security for both peoples. Don’t be so reactionary…

      Reply to Comment
    13. Palestinian

      @ MIKESAILOR , I agree with you , because there is no need for impunity , the whole justice system is corrupted when it comes to crimes against Palestinians , the law , judges , policemen (soldiers) settlers, the gov itself.As one former IDF soldier said in his interview ( breaking the silence) , its the system, thats the most appropriate word.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Palestinian

      @ Richy “. A double standard would exist if Palestinian murderers were brought to justice and Israeli murderers were not. That is not the case, even if Israelis enjoy impunity, since many Palestinians also enjoy impunity.”

      Israeli murderers arent brought to justice ? and what justice ? under what legal system ?who are the judges ?and how many Palestinians enjoy impunity ? state facts “dude”

      Reply to Comment
    15. RichardNYC

      Jewish settlers aren’t brought to justice for their bullying and violence against Palestinians, and, since the Shalit swap, many Palestinian murderers are now out of Israeli jails. Why? Because the right wingers on both sides are more powerful than the law. So If you’re actually interested in the rule of law, you need to deal with those political forces directly.

      Reply to Comment