Israel: judiciary provides legal cover for army crimes, say rights groups

Middle East Monitor  /  April 27, 2022

Human rights groups accused the Israeli judiciary on Tuesday of providing legal cover for the army’s crimes against unarmed Palestinian civilians.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights and the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) told a press conference in Gaza that the Israeli judiciary’s refusal to reopen an investigation into the Israel Defence Forces killing of four Palestinian children during the occupation state’s military offensive in 2014 allows officers and soldiers to act with impunity.

Israel’s Military Attorney General closed the case of the killing of the four boys on the beach in Gaza on 9 September 2019. The three rights groups appealed in 2020 against the case closure, but earlier this week the Israeli Supreme Court declared that it would not be reopened.

“The Israeli judiciary protects occupation soldiers from being prosecuted over crimes against humanity and war crimes,” explained the Director if the PHRC, Raji Sourani. “This way, the Israeli army is turning its back on international law and human rights conventions.”

The Director of Adalah, Hassan Jabarin, addressed journalists online from Haifa. “This case clarifies Israel’s arbitrary lethal attacks on Palestinian civilians during the war on Gaza in 2014, when it killed more than 550 children,” he pointed out. There is a plan by the legal system in Israel to defend Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and the “evaluation authority” of the Israeli army, added Jabarin. “This provides full impunity for Israeli soldiers. This case proves that there is an urgent need for an international party, including the International Criminal Court, to prosecute Israeli leaders.”

Isam Younis, the Director of Al-Mezan Centre, added that, “This recklessness of the Israeli Supreme Court compounds the grim reality of Israeli crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinian people.”