Occupied Jerusalem

- The announcement by the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kohavi, has reopened an investigation by the Military Prosecution into the circumstances of the killing of journalist Shirin Abu Akleh, bringing to the fore the approach and practices of the military law enforcement apparatus in the investigation and treatment of hundreds of complaints submitted against the occupation soldiers involved in shooting and killings against Palestinians, their rights are violated, and their property is stolen.

It is inferred from investigations and studies by human rights organizations that document the crimes of the occupation in the occupied territories in 1967 that in the last decade hundreds of documented complaints have been submitted against Israeli soldiers and their involvement in harming the Palestinians.

The complaints against the occupation soldiers included a violation of the rights and property of the Palestinians, and shooting incidents that resulted in injuries, victims and deaths.

It is clear that the Military Prosecution closed the majority of the files without opening any investigation in the first place, with opening a superficial and in-depth investigation with about 4% of the complaints, while 3% of the complaints were indicted against ordinary soldiers and lenient sentences were issued against them.

Hundreds of complaints documented by the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B'Tselem, and Yesh Din, a volunteer organization for human rights, and related to the follow-up to the investigation files into the killing of Palestinian citizens of the West Bank. These complaints were submitted to the Israeli army, that the law enforcement The military is nothing but a system to obscure the facts and a fig leaf that covers the crimes of the occupation.

Hagai El-Ad: Israel is trying to pretend that it is interrogating its soldiers and is seeking "justice" (B'Tselem)

The data revealed that the occupation authorities do not conduct any serious investigations into the complaints submitted to them against the security and army personnel, so as to provide immunity for the soldiers and delay in addressing complaints to the point of neglect in order to cover up the soldiers’ crimes committed against the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Referring to the crimes committed by the occupation soldiers against the Palestinians in the West Bank, B'Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad confirmed that since the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000, and until the end of 2015, the Center went to the Israeli Military Prosecution to investigate 739 complaints related to an incident of killing or wounding. , or beating Palestinians, or using them as human shields, or sabotaging their property and violating their rights by soldiers of the occupation army.

B'Tselem's follow-up to the procedures of the army authorities showed that until mid-2016, 25% of the files (182 files) of these cases and complaints had not been investigated at all, and about 50% (343 files) in which an investigation file was opened and closed without any result. .

The data also showed that only in very rare cases were indictments filed against soldiers involved in crimes and accidents (25 indictments), while in 13 complaints the soldiers involved were summoned to a disciplinary trial. The Military Prosecution did not find 44 files on the pretext that they were lost, and 132 A file at different stages of processing, as it was found from the data that 3% of the complaints were submitted as indictments.

Here is an interview with Elad on this matter:

 * What are the reasons for the absence of accountability in the Israeli army?

The general picture regarding the attacks of the occupation soldiers against the Palestinians shows the absence of a culture of deterrence, and the refraining from condemning soldiers and officers and immunizing members of the security forces, even those against whom investigations were opened or fictitious judicial procedures were taken against them.

This approach aims for the investigation unit in the Military Police and the Military Prosecution to perpetuate the occupation and adopt a strategy of controlling the Palestinian people and continuing their persecution and violation of their rights.

Q: But Israel claims that it is conducting investigations into the complaints submitted on behalf of the Palestinians against its soldiers?

Israel is trying, through its bogus investigations, to show the international community that it is investigating its soldiers and seeks to implement “justice” and prevent violations of human rights, and to hold accountable those who commit violations and abuses, but the data proves the opposite.

It is inferred from the policy and approach of closing files, obliterating facts, and neglecting complaints against Palestinians, submitted by human rights institutions and centers, that Israel has established, through the military judicial system, a system that expresses a false image and a problematic situation that deludes the world as if the authorities are applying the law at the criminal and civil levels.

Consequently, the military judiciary does not deter soldiers from committing violations and crimes against the Palestinians. Rather, its approach and decisions motivate soldiers and officers to persist in the attacks, because they are well aware that they will not be held accountable and will not be punished, and they will not be criminalized for the attacks, crimes and damage they have caused to the Palestinians.

 * Then why is the international community remaining silent about the approach of the Israeli military judiciary?

Past experiences have proven that Israel has succeeded in deceiving the world and avoiding international investigations or appearing before the International Criminal Court, because through the few and exceptional complaints that have been addressed, and exaggerating the allegations of the Israeli army that it is investigating its soldiers or officers in files, cases and attacks against the Palestinians, it has angered international opinion. This has deluded the international community and given it the impression that the Israeli law enforcement apparatus is working as it should.

The military judicial system of the Israeli army has turned into a fig leaf that covers the crimes and ruggedness of the occupation, so that for decades the international community has been dealing with and in harmony with the Israeli narrative, a narrative that had the support of the judicial system and Israeli courts, which is like a rubber stamp and has always been It provides immunity for soldiers and officers and does not do justice to the Palestinians.

* Did the international silence motivate Israel to obscure the facts about the complaints against its soldiers?

In light of the international silence and the failure to take any measures against Israel due to the practices of the occupation, and the apartheid regime that it imposes in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, the occupation persisted in violations and abuses of the rights of the Palestinian people and adopted a policy of easy pulling the trigger against the Palestinians under the pretext of security and combating the so-called “terrorism”. .

Not only that, since April 2011, the Military Prosecution has informed the Supreme Court of a change in the army's investigation policy in cases in which Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians in the West Bank by opening an immediate investigation only in cases considered "abnormal" by the army.

After September 2015, an investigation was not opened into the killing of a Palestinian by Israeli soldiers’ fire, except in one case, which is the killing of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif at the hands of the soldier Elor Azaria.

In May 2022, the Israeli army announced that it would investigate the same soldier for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

* So, will the Israeli army adopt a policy of obliterating the facts in the file of Abu Aqila's killing?

The Israeli army's announcement of the opening of an investigation into what happened in Jenin camp and the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, an Israeli attempt to circumvent any international procedure or open any international investigation, so that it wants to show the world that it is investigating the file of this journalist's assassination.

Since the announcement of Abu Aqleh’s killing, Israel, with its various arms and security and diplomatic institutions, has begun preparing a narrative aimed at accusing Palestinian militants of causing Abu Aqila’s death and dismissing the charges, and it has promoted a video showing a Palestinian gunman in an alley clashing with a military force.

However, the investigation of B'Tselem field researcher Abd al-Karim al-Saadi from Jenin, who arrived at the scene of Abu `Aqila's assassination, refuted the Israeli narrative and questioned the credibility of the Israeli appeals contained in the video of the clash and shooting by the Palestinian gunman, and proved through facts on the ground and the evidence that He collected it and the field terrain of the place that the video clip of the clash and shooting of the Palestinian gunman was very far from the place where Abu Aqila was targeted and assassinated.

After refuting the allegations of the occupation army, Israel retracted its story repeatedly. After it failed to promote the allegations that the Palestinian resistance fighters had the same weapons used in the army, and that they might have fired, they adopted another version, "We do not know which bullets were targeted? Palestinian or Israeli bullets." It was replaced by a third novel that may have been accidentally hit by an Israeli soldier's bullet.

* Why the contradiction and the change of Israeli narratives with the killing of Abu Aqila?

The change of narratives shows the falsehood of the Israeli allegations and allegations, and reveals the lies of the Israeli army. Therefore, the army’s promotion of opening an investigation into the killing of Abu Aqila is only a way to gain time to obscure the facts, and to avoid opening an international investigation or circulating the file before the International Criminal Court.

Israel also aims, by retracting this or that narrative, and again calling for a joint investigation with the Palestinians, to show the international community that it is investigating its soldiers in this file, spreading rumors and sowing doubts about appeals and the Palestinian narrative, absorbing any anger and international criticism directed against it, and seeking to deflect it. The attention and interest of the international community and world public opinion on the file of the assassination of Abu Aqila, and directing it towards other files.

* What is Israel's goal in changing the narratives and claiming to open an investigation into the assassination of Abu Aqila?

Past experiences have proven that Israel cannot claim before the International Criminal Court that it is acting in accordance with what international law stipulates in the Abu Aqila killing file, and therefore this court is required to reject these allegations that aim to deceive world public opinion and avoid opening an international investigation.

Tel Aviv aims to promote the opportunity to open an investigation by it, knowing that the International Court system recognizes the withdrawal of this right if it is revealed that the concerned country is not fulfilling its duty to investigate, or delays the investigations and obscures the facts in the file, or if it is revealed that it claims to conduct investigations with the aim of evading And avoid the intervention of the International Criminal Court.

* Will Israel succeed in obscuring the facts about the assassination of Abu Aqila?

First of all, I stress that the Israeli army has no authority to investigate itself in crimes committed against the Palestinians. Since 2016, B’Tselem has stopped filing complaints against the occupation army, because the military judicial system is nothing but a means to obscure facts, close files, refrain from deterrence and concealment. Accountability and accountability.

In the file of the assassination of Abu Aqila, as Israel showed past experiences in complaints and files of soldiers’ crimes against the Palestinians, it adopts through the alleged investigations the strategy of procrastination, blurring the facts and closing the files, as the Israeli establishment succeeded in this strategy and deceived the international community, and the soldiers continued the policy of easy pressure on the trigger towards the Palestinians , violations, and prejudice to the Palestinians, and their property.

Therefore, if the international community did not draw lessons from past experiences with regard to the complaints and files submitted by the Palestinians, which were met with a blurring of the facts and a closure by the occupation army, then the file of the assassination of Abu Aqila will face the same fate if the occupation achieves itself, and therefore no An international investigation is required into the circumstances of the journalist's killing and the exhaustion of all international judicial procedures because there is no credibility for any Israeli investigations or procedures.