Palestinians don’t need Israel investigated, they need justice

A funeral ceremony held for 80-year-old Palestinian Omar Abdulmajeed Asad, at Jaljulia village near Ramallah (Issam Rimawi - Anadolou Agency)

Asa Winstanley

Middle East Monitor  /  January 22, 2022

Last week, 80-year-old Palestinian-American Omar Asad was kidnapped, tied up, and apparently tortured by Israeli army thugs in the West Bank. He was found dead soon after.

It’s the kind of brutality habitually imposed upon Palestinians by the illegitimate Zionist regime to maintain a “pure” Jewish state in historical Palestine.

But because Assad held a US passport, his case generated ever so slightly more attention over there than usual. The US State Department and several US lawmakers called for Israel to “investigate” itself over the apparent killing.

This is worse than pointless.

In my view, calling for such investigations is not only fruitless but actively harmful. Subscribing to the obviously false belief that the killer should be allowed to investigate the killing allows Israel off the hook.

It gives the false impression that the Israeli police and Israeli army’s internal investigations are anything more than egregious whitewashes.

To take only one example – cited by my colleague at The Electronic Intifada Maureen Murphy in her report on the killing of Assad – you only need to look at the aftermath of 2018’s Great March of Return in Gaza, when Israel killed hundreds of Palestinians.

Beginning in March of that year, thousands of Palestinians did what whining liberals the world over have been lecturing them to do for ages and took non-violent protest action against Israel. In fact, Palestinians have been doing so for more than a century as part of their long campaign against violent settler-colonial displacement.

Demanding the most basic human rights, young people, women, and elders marched towards the boundary fence with Israel and sought to return to their homes in historical Palestine (what is today partly known by some as “Israel”). More than 80 per cent of Gazans today are refugees and descendent from inside present-day Israel. They were driven out starting in 1948 when Zionist terror gangs expelled the majority of Palestinians by force to clear the way for the foundation of Israel.

In response to the peaceful resistance campaign, the Israeli military brutally and sadistically set up snipers along the prison walls their forces have used to cage Palestinians into Gaza and shot them down dead. Many were deliberately maimed and permanently lost the use of limbs. This was a targeted policy.

More than 215 Palestinians were killed in those demonstrations. Yet, out of all the Israeli “investigations” of its own conduct, only a single criminal indictment was filed. “The indicted soldier was convicted of minor offences and received an extremely lenient sentence,” according to Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din.

This is only one of many such examples of Israel’s self-serving whitewash “investigations”. They are no more than public relations exercises to keep the military and political aid flowing from the US and Europe.

These Israeli massacres are the cost of a Jewish state in Palestine. Western liberals were oddly silent at Israel’s massacre of unarmed men, women, and children marching for their rights. But even some on the weak-kneed social democratic left were ineffectual in their responses.

Leading Labour leftist John McDonnell, for example, called for an investigation or commission of inquiry into the shootings, as previously conducted by the United Nations.

This call may have been well-intentioned, but I maintain that it was not helpful at all. The facts about Palestine are well known. The massacre of the marchers in Gaza was carried out in plain sight.

We do not need an umpteenth inquiry, investigation, or – going back to the British colonial “mandate” period – white paper or royal commission.

We all know that Israel is a racist apartheid state that murders Palestinians daily in cold blood. It is time to hold it to account and bring justice to Palestinians.

It is time for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist living in London who writes about Palestine and the Middle East