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Report: Fewer IDF soldiers held accountable for alleged crimes against Palestinians in 2012

In the second half of January at least five unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot and killed by IDF fire in the West Bank and Gaza. The following report shows a dramatic downward trend in the rate of indictments served against IDF soldiers for alleged offenses in 2012, a year in which only one indictment was served against a soldier accused of abusing a Palestinian.

By Yesh Din

In the wake of recent events, Yesh Din has published a new data sheet about criminal accountability of IDF soldiers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The data indicates a clear downward trend in the rate of indictments served: in the years 2009-2011 indictments were served following 2.5% of the investigations opened into alleged offenses committed by Israeli soldiers while in 2012 not a single Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) investigation resulted in an indictment.

The data sheet, based on information provided to Yesh Din by the IDF spokesperson, as well as the organization’s ongoing research, shows the following:

  • In 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by IDF soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
  • The MPCID opened criminal investigations into 78 of the 240 reports it received. Another 25 investigation files were opened that year into reports received in 2011. The MPCID opened a total of 103 criminal investigations in 2012.
  • Data for the last years indicates a significant drop in the rate of indictments served. The data for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 shows that 14 investigation files out of the 534 opened during those three years produced indictments; i.e., only 2.62%.
  • Not a single investigation file opened by MPCID in 2012 yielded an indictment. Only one indictment was served in 2012 against an IDF soldier accused of hurting a Palestinian, and that followed an investigation that had opened in 2011.
  • The absence of an MPCID base in the West Bank led to only six Palestinians managing to submit their complaints directly to the MPCID in 2012. The others had to seek the help of various intermediaries such as human rights organizations and the Israel Police.

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    1. The occupation is now a police action, not ongoing war. One can make a claim it was something of a war during the suicide bombings, but not now. A police action which refuses to redress the occupied’s grievences as to land and livelihood has no choice but to suppress recurrent protests. Since every protest is defined as without cause, soldiers are always the victims of the protesters; they are not indicted because their jobs are pure, for the country. There are limits–a rampage soldier killing many would be addressed. But, otherwise, victimhood lies in the hard job of being a necessary soldier.

      In my hope, the village creation protests are an attempt to wedge a different response from the Israeli State. So long as no plea is valid, soldiers will be mostly immune. The Court could change this by demanding redress for injuries, but without several large mistakes by the IDF I doubt such will occur. So the village protests keep offering an alternative form of engagement, unrecognized as of now.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        Israel’s state terrorism has started decades before Palestinian martyrdom bombings.For every action there is a reaction.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          That’s only because it took Palestinians a quite a while to figure how to build a bomb.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            No,thats because it took Palestinians a quite a while to understand what Abd Al-Nasser said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Piotr Berman

            But wouldn’t you agree that Irgun etc. were decades ahead of Palestinians in planting bombs?

            Reply to Comment
          • Piotr Berman

            The most important rules for a society embroiled in a conflict is to determine who is innocent (and thus, who is not) and furthermore, who is most innocent.

            And nobody is more innocent than “our soldiers”. Thus attacking soldiers is always viewed as most vile and terroristic, and kidnapping soldiers more vile than, say, raping prepubescent girls (who are also innocent, but not as innocent as soldiers, for example, they may dress provocatively). For example, the operation Pillar of Something (cloud, smoke?) was preceded with attacks on soldiers.

            This makes it difficult to prosecute soldiers for anything other than disobedience of orders. And it automatically reduces the severity of any transgression.

            Example 1: Dilawar, a taxi driver, died after being beaten and tormented for 5 days and nights in Bagram base. Quite a few soldiers of various ranks were involved, and a black sheep provided details to the press. Ensuing investigations did not manage to exonerate everybody, so one soldier was sentenced to 2 months of jail.

            Example 2: an Azeri officer, while invited to the course of English organized by NATO in Budapest killed another participant, an Armenian officer, with an axe while the latter was asleep. Since he was tried in Hungary, he was not found innocent there (not “our soldier”) and got a life sentence. After 8 years he was transferred to Azerbaijan to serve the rest of his sentence. He promptly got presidential pardon, release from prison and promotion from captain to major, to the jubilant reaction of the public.

            Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian, I for one will not make suicide bombings holy; nor will I make IDF actions holy. I am aware somewhat of what Israeli security did at the start of the 2nd Intifata. But I will not thereby place a garland on the bombers. This history can be pushed back by all sides leading to implacable righteousness. My point, above, is that the present incarnation of occupation was generated in response to the bombings. But that war is now over; Israel faces a policing action, not war, and has not faced that as of now. This is not an apology for Israel and the IDF, nor an apology for suicide bombing. Violence, on both sides, has made atrocity.

        Reply to Comment
        • Palestinian

          Martyrdom bombings were generated in response to decades of oppression,humiliation and state terrorism.If you keep squeezing a balloon,it will eventually explode.
          “both” is used when people dont want to condemn Israel alone,so they choose to blame “both” sides.
          Equalizing the guilty with the victim? isnt only dangerous but immoral.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Palestinian

      Surprise ! They are there to commit crimes against Palestinians , thats their full-time job.

      Reply to Comment

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