B'Tselem: documents published by Ha'aretz raise grave suspicions that the army performs illegal assassinations

8 Apr 2010

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.

The last openly-declared assassination that Israel conducted in the West Bank took place in August 2006. Since then, Israel has declared that whenever possible, its armed forces shall arrest Palestinians that it deems "wanted". In spite of this, B'Tselem's research revealed that soldiers in the West Bank often operate as though they are on assassination, not arrest, operations. The article published by Haaretz Journalist Uri Blau in 2008 reinforces B'Tselem's claims in this matter. Following the article's publication, the authorities rushed to investigate the source of the leak of the documents, and chose to ignore the serious suspicions of blatant violations of the law it contained.

Blau revealed, among other papers, documents that indicate that high-ranking officers in Israel 's armed forces approved in adva nce the killing of Palestinians who were defined as wanted. The military approved assassination plans in the West Bank , even when it was allegedly possible to arrest the Palestinians, and in which prior written approval was given for incidental harm to occur to innocent bystanders during these operations.