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Israel ‘investigations’ into Gaza deaths ‘mere propaganda’ says rights group

March 18, 2019 at 11:01 am

Yusuf Said Hussein al-Dayeh, 15, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the chest by Israeli troops in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Human rights group B’Tselem has slammed Israeli authorities’ announcement of investigations into 11 deaths during Great Return March protests in the occupied Gaza Strip as “mere propaganda”.

“A real change in Israeli policy will only take place if the international community demands it clearly and unequivocally, and if it stops allowing Israel to do no more than offer hollow promises of ‘investigation’”, B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad wrote to the UN Commission of Inquiry.

According to a press release, a position paper issued by the NGO “explains why announcing investigations is a standard ploy that Israel employs to ease international pressure whenever its unlawful policy elicits criticism.”

READ: Israel to investigate killings of further 8 Palestinians in Gaza protests 

B’Tselem noted that while a number of “investigations” have been very publicly announced, the actual open-fire regulations governing troops’ conduct “remain unchanged and are still being implemented in the field”, adding:

People are still being killed or wounded, and no one is questioning the policy or being held to account for it.

The respected rights group described “the ‘investigations’ carried out by the military whitewashing mechanism, under the leadership of the Military Advocate General (MAG)” as “meaningless other than their role in aiding Israel’s effort to silence international criticism.”

READ: PA condemns Israel’s field executions of Palestinians

“They do not lead to adopting any measures against any of the people responsible for harm to Palestinians, as from the very outset the investigations do not probe the responsibility at the level of officials who set out and approved the policy or the unlawful orders,” B’Tselem added.

The human rights organisation urged the international community to “stop buying into Israel’s propaganda ploys,” and instead, to “make the most of its power and influence to compel Israel to change its policy and immediately cease the gunfire at protesters who pose no danger.”