Israeli probes into deaths of Palestinians show no signs of progress

DAILY SABAH WITH AP
Istanbul
Published 23.07.2019 00:21

Palestinians in the occupied territories suffer from frequent Israeli raids with many criminal investigations into the shootings of Palestinians showing no sign of progress. The Israeli military has opened investigations into 24 potentially criminal shootings of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip over the past year, The Associated Press has found. Yet none of the cases have yielded convictions or even indictments. In most instances, the army hasn't interviewed key witnesses or retrieved evidence from the field.

B'Tselem, Israel's leading human rights group, grew so frustrated with the system that in 2016 it halted its decades-long practice of assisting military investigations. "We came to the conclusion as a human rights organization, we're actually creating more harm than good by cooperating with the system because it is in fact a whitewash mechanism," said the group's spokesman, Amit Galutz. The system's success, he said, "is measured not by its ability to protect victims, but perpetrators."

In the last eight years, nearly 200 criminal investigations into the shootings of Palestinians have secured just two convictions, according to B'Tselem. One of them, a high-profile case in which a soldier was caught on video fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground, resulted in a reduced sentence of nine months. Israel says it must regularly carry out military operations in the West Bank to prevent Palestinian attacks and protect Jewish settlements. Proving criminal intent is an especially high standard in Gaza, where some 200 Palestinians, most of them unarmed, have been killed in the past year during demonstrations along the border.

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