B’Tselem September newsletter
human rights news from #Israel and #Palestine
Israel’s last military operation in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, ended over a month ago. In the course of the fighting, B’Tselem received reports of grave harm to civilians. In some cases, Israel violated international humanitarian law; in many others, breaches of the law are suspected. The MAG Corps has already announced the opening of some 90 “investigations” into “irregular” incidents and asked B’Tselem to provide any relevant information it may have.
After lengthy discussions, and based on our vast experience with military “investigations” of previous operations in Gaza, we concluded that the current investigation mechanism is incapable of promoting justice or accountability from the policymakers whose actions paved the way for these breaches of the law. In fact, the existing mechanism aims for quite the opposite: it addresses only “irregular” incidents and investigates only soldiers on the ground, almost entirely ignoring the responsibility of politicians and top military commanders. Going by past experience, the latest round of investigations will be neither professional nor effective, and will certainly not aspire to uncover the truth.
In these circumstances, we no longer find it useful to assist what is essentially a whitewash apparatus intended to create the false pretense that Israel investigates suspected breaches of the law. Accordingly, we notified the MAG Corps that we will stop assisting its work until fundamental changes are made to Israel’s investigation mechanism.
It goes without saying that B’Tselem seeks to have the military’s conduct in the last operation in Gaza investigated; certainly, we will support any independent, effective investigation mechanism that includes the responsible politicians and senior ranks and will be professional and swift. Holding human rights violators accountable is a major tool for protecting these rights, and it is meant to prevent the recurrence of such violations. Accountability is, therefore, crucial to protecting human rights.
Adv. Yael Stein,
B’Tselem’s Research Director