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Israel files charges in under 2% of fatal shooting cases

Israeli forces telling journalists to leave after shooting a Palestinian dead in Ramallah, West Bank on 31st October 2016 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces telling journalists to leave after shooting a Palestinian dead in Ramallah, West Bank on 31st October 2016 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Out of more than 100 fatal shootings by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory over a four-year period, “a decision to file charges was made in only two cases”, Israeli NGO B’Tselem has reported.

The NGO updated its website yesterday “with current status reports of investigations in the cases of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military from 2011 to 2015.”

According to B’Tselem, “to date, of 106 incidents that resulted in 121 fatalities (2011-2015), a decision to file charges was made in only two cases. Another indictment was served this year for the killing of ‘Abd Al-Fatah Al-Sharif.”

Earlier this year, “in view of the futility of promoting justice or upholding human rights via a system whose effectiveness is measured by its whitewash capabilities”, B’Tselem decided “to no longer refer complaints to the military law enforcement system in cases of harm to Palestinians by Israeli security personnel.”

In “The Occupation’s Fig Leaf: Israel’s Military Law Enforcement System as a Whitewash Mechanism, a detailed examination of the systematic impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces, B’Tselem notes that it has “demanded an investigation in 739 cases in which soldiers killed, injured, or beat Palestinians, used them as human shields, or damaged Palestinian property”, since September 2000.

In a quarter of cases, “no investigation was ever launched”, in nearly half (343), “the investigation was closed with no further action”, and only in very rare instances (25), “were charges brought against the implicated soldiers.” Another 13 cases were referred for disciplinary action.

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