On 2 Dec. '07, soldiers shot Firas Qasqas to death. He was unarmed and posed no threat. For more than a year and a half, the JAG's Office has delayed the decision whether to prosecute the soldiers or close the file.
In response to today's (27 Jan. '11) sentencing in the Ni'lin affair, B'Tselem reiterates that military justice system's choice to ignore much more severe cases is what enabled this incident to take place, and expressed hope that the army will internalize the court's severe criticism of the incident.
B'Tselem again calls on Israel to conduct an independent and effective investigation into the serious suspicions of violations of human rights and of international law it committed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Willingness to examine the policy that guided the forces, and not only isolated incidents, is vital for the morality of Israeli society.
Operation Cast Lead: Removal of bodies from the house of Wa'el a-Samuni, in Gaza City. Photo: B'Tselem, 18 Jan. '09.
Claims made by the defense in the trial relating to the shooting of the bound detainee in Ni'lin, that B'Tselem's video had been tampered with, have been disproved by the Israel Police Forensics Department.
Video footage of Ni'lin shooting, July 2008. Police Forensics confirm the video is genuine.
Over the past year, B'Tselem has documented 11 cases in which soldiers fired at and wounded Palestinian civilians close to the perimeter fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The use of live fire to remove civilians from the area is indiscriminate, causes disproportionate injury to the civilian population, and should be halted immediately.
According to a new report that B'Tselem published today (14 Sept. '10), the Israeli army's policy not to investigate the killing of Palestinian civilians exempts soldiers from accountability, even when criminal offenses are suspected. Even in the few cases in which investigations are opened, routine procrastination by the Judge Advocate Generals' Office leads to closing of the files.
Today (15 July '10), Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, former commander of armored battalion 71, was convicted of attempted threats, and Staff Sergeant Leonardo Corea of unlawful use of firearms. Both were also convicted of conduct unbecoming. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a criminal record.
Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed in April 2009 from a tear gas canister fired at him during a demonstration against the Separation Barrier. The JAG persistently refused to open an investigation into the incident, and did so only after B'Tselem and Att. Michael Sfard submitted an expert opinion that the open-fire regulations had been violated.
Bassem Abu Rahma in a demonstration in Bil'in. Photo: Oren Ziv, activestills.org, 25 July 2008.
Riyeh Abu Hajaj (64) and her daughter, Majda Abu Hajaj (37), were killed in Operation Cast Lead after leaving their home on army orders, waving white flags. Following the event, first reported by B'Tselem, the media now report that the soldier who fired is to be summoned to a hearing, prior to an indictment.
B'Tselem is today (Monday, 14 June) publishing its annual report on human rights in the Occupied Territories, covering the 16-month period from January 2009 to April 2010. The report surveys the events since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. One and a half years after the operation, the allegations regarding breaches of international humanitarian law by Israel and Hamas have yet to be properly investigated.
B'Tselem demands that Israel immediately open an independent, non-military investigation into the circumstances of the military takeover of the ships, during which dozens of activists were killed or injured.
The army has classified the area along Gaza's border with Israel a no-go zone, where anybody entering may be shot. This policy endangers the many farmers who work land there and harms the livelihood of tens of thousands of persons. It has already resulted in the killing and injury of persons who entered the zone, although they endangered nobody.
Following Yesh Din and B'Tselem's complaint, an indictment for negligent manslaughter was filed on 25 May ‘10 against the border police officer who shot 10 year old Ahmed Musa in the West Bank village of Ni'lin in July 2008.
A Palestinian youth, Ahmad Sliman Salem Dib, 19, died on 28 April after Israeli security forces shot him near the border fence with the Gaza Strip, while he was participating in a demonstration against Israel’s prohibition on Palestinians entering broad areas near the fence.
The details exposed in Blau's article raise the suspicion that soldiers were given unlawful orders to kill suspects even in non-life-threatening situations and when arrest was possible. However, none of those involved have been questioned and the senior officers who gave the orders remain in their positions.
Following the removal of the gag order imposed in Israel on the publication of details about the charges against Israeli Journalist Anat Kamm, B'Tselem wishes to reiterate that the case hinges on documents that raise grave suspicions that the Israeli military conducted assassination operations in the West Bank, under the guise of arrest operations. This, in contrast to official Israeli statements, and in violation of an Israeli High Court ruling.
On 20 March '10, soldiers killed two youths in 'Iraq Burin. Demonstrations had taken place in the village that day. B'Tselem's findings contradict the army's statement that the soldiers had shot only "rubber" bullets. In a rare step, the Military Police will investigate the incident
On 10 February 2010, soldiers shot Muhammad Subuh, 17, near the Gaza-Israel border, wounding him. Testimonies given to B'Tselem indicate that, while Subuh was gathering firewood, soldiers opened fire without warning and while their lives were not in danger. The shooting is consistent with previous reports of the existence of "death zones" that the army has established adjacent to the border.