[News] Israeli impunity is coming to an end

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 20 17:03:54 EDT 2020


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/israeli-impunity-coming-end
Israeli
impunity is coming to an end
July 19, 2020
------------------------------

Ahmad Erakat

The days of Israel’s impunity are dwindling as the International Criminal
Court <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/international-criminal-court>
inches closer towards opening a full investigation into war crimes in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An Israeli diplomatic offensive
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/us-and-israel-team-thwart-war-crimes-probes/29906>
and sanctions
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/eu-complicity-greenlights-israeli-executions>
by the US have so far not bullied the court into submission.

A pre-trial chamber’s determination on court jurisdiction in Palestine is
expected soon (the ICC just adjourned for the summer holiday and will
reconvene in mid-August), and the Israeli government doesn’t anticipate the
judges will rule in its favor.

The Tel Aviv daily *Haaretz* reported
<https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-forms-secret-list-of-hundreds-of-officials-who-may-stand-trial-at-icc-1.8997620>
this week that Israel is compiling “a secret list of military and
intelligence officials who might be subject to arrest abroad” should an ICC
investigation proceed.

The paper said it was told the list “now includes between 200 and 300
officials.”

The document remains secret because the ICC “is likely to view a list of
names as an official Israeli admission of these officials’ involvement in
the incidents under investigation,” *Haaretz* added.

Likely suspects include top ministers and military brass who oversaw and
carried out Israel’s 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip. Among the
senior-ranking potential suspects named by *Haaretz* are Benjamin Netanyahu
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/benjamin-netanyahu> and former army
chief Benny Gantz <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/benny-gantz>, who
jointly head Israel’s coalition government.

The list may also include lower-ranking officials involved in the building
of West Bank settlements.

The number of personnel liable for war crimes prosecutions only grows
larger with each street execution of a Palestinian by Israeli police and
military.
“Unarmed and defenseless”

Dozens of human rights groups told the United Nations this week
<http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/17112.html> that the perpetrators of
the extrajudicial
execution
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israel-kills-man-day-sisters-wedding>
of 26-year-old Ahmad Erakat
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ahmad-mustafa-erakat> at a checkpoint
last month must be held accountable.

Israel said that Erakat had intentionally rammed the checkpoint with his
car, causing minor injuries to a soldier. Video of the incident shows that
soldiers shot Erakat when he exited his vehicle with hands in the air.

Erakat was running errands ahead of his sister’s wedding when he was slain.
The bride “was already wearing her wedding dress when she learned that her
brother had been killed,” the rights groups state in the appeal.

Erakat was due to be married in September after his wedding was postponed
in May because of the pandemic.

“Clearly unarmed and defenseless,” Erakat was left to bleed to death for
around 90 minutes while occupation forces denied him medical care, the
rights groups state.

Israeli soldiers present did not provide Erakat with emergency treatment.
Ten minutes after the shooting, an Israeli ambulance arrived at the
checkpoint. Those medics treated only the lightly injured soldier and did
not provide aid to Erakat.

“In treating a wounded Israeli soldier but leaving [Erakat] without medical
assistance despite his critical injury, Israel’s conduct amounts to
prohibited racial discrimination,” the rights groups add.

Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian paramedics from reaching Erakat.

Denial of treatment of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces “must be
understood as part and parcel of Israel’s widespread and systematic
shoot-to-kill policy targeting Palestinians,” the rights groups say.

The aim of this policy “is to maintain Israel’s regime of systematic racial
oppression and domination over the Palestinian people,” the groups add.

Israeli forces failed to provide treatment to injured Palestinians on at
least 114 occasions in 2019 alone.

“The denial of medical assistance at the earliest possible moment” amounts
to “violations of the rights to health and life,” the groups add in the
urgent appeal.
“Climate of fear”

Israel is holding Erakat’s body as part of a policy of withholding the
remains of Palestinians killed in what it claims are attacks on soldiers
and civilians.

Israel delayed the return of the bodies of more than 250 Palestinians
killed by its forces since implementing the policy in 2015.

It continues to withhold 63 of those bodies so that they may be used as
bargaining chips <http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/17033.html> in future
prisoner swaps.

This practice, approved
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/israeli-court-approves-use-palestinian-bodies-bargaining-chips>
by Israel’s highest court, is a form of collective punishment
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/collective-punishment> that “amounts
to torture and ill-treatment of the victims’ families,” the rights groups
state.

Israel’s collective punishment practices are “designed to create a climate
of fear, repression and intimidation” and “to weaken the capacity of the
Palestinian people to effectively challenge the regime,” the appeal adds.

The willful killing of Ahmad Erakat is a grave violation of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, the rights groups say. State parties, including Israel,
are obligated to bring persons suspected of carrying out such violations
before their courts.

However, the Israeli military’s self-investigation mechanism “has
repeatedly been shown to fall abysmally short of international standards
for ensuring effective, genuine and credible investigations,” the groups
add.

Given the lack of access to justice in Israeli courts, the groups say,
“genuine accountability for Palestinian victims may only be attained
through the international criminal justice and universal jurisdiction
courts.”

“The [International Criminal Court] in this regard represents a court of
last resort for Palestinians,” they add. The groups urge UN human rights
experts “to call upon the ICC to rule, without delay, in recognition of the
court’s territorial jurisdiction” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Until justice is served, there will be yet another Palestinian family
bereaved of a son or daughter week after week, month after month, year
after year.
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