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  • When shooting a teen in the back is a 'professional error'

    An IDF brigade commander shot a Palestinian teen who threw a rock at his jeep, while the boy was running away, and then left him bleeding on the road. Initially, the colonel claimed his life was in danger. With each subsequent interrogation, the story changed. The military police determined the incident was a ‘professional error’ –  bad aim – and closed the case despite evidence that tells a very different story. By John Brown* and Noam Rotem On July 3, 2015, Col. Yisrael Shomer, then-commander of the IDF’s Binyamin Brigade, was driving towards the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank.…

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  • With no justice on the horizon for Gaza, what comes next?

    A new report by B'Tselem concludes that the Israeli military's investigations into its own alleged crimes are little more than a whitewash. So what comes next? Sometimes a seemingly dry bit of research can seem to rise to the level of literature, challenging the status quo in ways that, in the long run, only literature can. Take, for example, the first Arab Human Development Report. Penned by researchers from the region, the 2002 report concludes, rather boldly, that “the predominant characteristic of the current Arab reality seems to be the existence of deeply rooted shortcomings in the Arab institutional structure.”…

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  • 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…

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  • License to Kill: Forgery, evidence tampering and two dead teens

    Usaid and Muhammed Qadus are shot to death in their own village by a major in the Israeli army who claims he only fired rubber bullets. But the bullets were real, and he admitted to lying and committing forgery to cover up his crime. Instead of being charged with a crime, he is promoted. By John Brown and Noam Rotem (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) In the "License to Kill" series thus far, we have surveyed eight Military Police investigation files regarding the killing of Palestinians by IDF fire. Despite the fact that none of those killed posed a danger…

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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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  • No indictment in killing of four Palestinian kids on Gaza beach

    Israeli army prosecutor decides not to open a criminal probe into a widely reported-on air strike against four children playing on a Gaza City beach during last year's war. The MAG says it will, however, investigate the shelling of a medical clinic 'in honor' a fallen soldier. The Israeli military will not seek any indictments over the killing of four Palestinian children on the beach in Gaza last summer, the Military Advocate General announced on Thursday. The four children were killed in a July 16 airstrike that targeted them while they played on a Gaza beach adjacent to where a sizable…

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  • License to Kill: Why did the IDF shoot the Qawarik cousins 29 times?

    Saleh and Muhammad head out to their agricultural land. A settler stops them and calls the army. Four soldiers arrive. One of them empties his magazine into the two. Three other soldiers claim they didn't see anything. The IDF says that the cousins attacked the soldier, then retracts the claim. No one is brought to justice. The fourth installment in a series examining the case files of soldiers who killed unarmed Palestinian civilians. [Read parts one, two and three.] By John Brown* and Noam Rotem Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman This series of reports deals with cases in which…

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  • The casualties of the next Gaza war

    The awful experience of the past few years suggests that in about two years time will be ripe for yet another war with predictable outcomes: thousands of dead, each and every one of them a person who meant the world to their families and loved ones. By Hagai El-Ad One month after the end of the war in Gaza – was it the second Gaza war? The third? – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood in front of the UN General Assembly and declared that, “no other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties…

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  • In Gaza, justice delayed is justice denied

    Israeli army investigators have not even contacted the teenage victim of one of the few alleged war crimes it says it is probing. More than two months after Israel's assault on Gaza began, victims of the air, land, and sea invasion continue to have no recourse against their occupiers. It's been nearly two months since 17-year-old Ahmad Abu Raida says he was used as a human shield by Israeli forces near the Gaza border town of Khan Younis. Since then, human rights organizations and various media outlets have reported on the case (+972 was among the first), but Abu Raida has yet to face his alleged…

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  • 'Protecting Palestinians isn't part of Israel's ethos'

    Yossi Gurvitz talks to Atty. Emily Schaeffer, coordinator of Yesh Din's criminal accountability of Israeli security forces project, about work, how the IDF investigates its own, the negligible prosecution rate for killing Palestinians, as well as veganism, 'Tikkun Olam' and Passover. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din Two weeks ago I met with Emily Schaeffer, coordinator of Yesh Din's criminal accountability of Israeli security forces project, for a conversation and interview that should have been limited to the field of her work but ultimately touched upon many other areas. Let’s begin with basics. Who are you? I was born in…

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  • When 'security' means training in a Muslim cemetery

    It turns out that the IDF's legal division has no problem with soldiers holding training drills in a Palestinian graveyard. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Last Thursday, Yesh Din field investigators filmed our brave troops while they were training in a Muslim graveyard in Hebron. Here are the images (extended video at end of post): http://youtu.be/1p-2Nu2CpWM One is pressed to imagine greater callousness of heart: turning a graveyard, a place on which every society places many taboos and much sensitivity, into a place where soldiers practice. And it ought to be mentioned they are training mostly for operations…

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