Friday, August 3, 2007
From Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
"The Israeli "justice" system continued to pardon or give extremely light sentences to Israeli occupation soldiers convicted of murdering Palestinian civilians or causing them grave bodily injuries.
Earlier this week, an Israeli military court in Tel Aviv released four soldiers who a few days earlier seriously injured a Palestinian citizens from the town of Dahiriya, 19 kilometers south west of Hebron. The Palestinian received multiple gunshot wounds in the neck as he was walking in the town's main market.
According to Israeli press sources, the soldiers stole a taxi cab at gunpoint, blindfolded the driver before driving to the village center in order to "hunt some Palestinians." At one point, the soldiers shot and critically wounded the local Palestinian, leaving him bleed heavily, according to Palestinian sources.
The judge, an extreme right-winger, reportedly exonerated the soldiers, arguing that they didn't know that what they were doing was "illegal." The Israeli army described the soldiers' murderous behavior as "resulting from excessive motivation."
On Thursday, an Israeli army court in Jaffa decided to release the soldier who shot the Palestinian to what was described as "open remand" on his base. Other soldiers involved in the "incident" had already been released for absence of any incriminating evidence.....
Israeli army sources later admitted that the soldiers' account of the entire affair was concocted and that none of them had sprained an ankle.
Two weeks ago, another Israeli soldier who murdered a Palestinian in the West Bank was also acquitted of any wrongdoing by a military court.
In 2004, an Israeli occupation soldier who murdered a 13-year-old Palestinian school girl in Rafah at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, and confirmed the kill in IOF lingo, was acquitted of any wrong doing. Far from being indicted for murder, the soldier, dubbed Captain R., was later awarded thousands of dollars for "getting his reputation tarnished by the media."
Normally, the Israeli press and media as well as intellectuals and civil society keep silent in the face of such outrageous behavior by the Israeli justice system.
Israel, nontheless, continues to claim that it is the only true democracy in the Middle East and that it is a country where the rule of law prevails. A Palestinian lawyer from Hebron region described the Israeli justice system as "very much like the Nazi justice system." "It is like a Nazi court prosecuting a Gestapo policeman, so what do you expect," said Hussein Raba'i. Raba'i argued that the Israeli justice system was based on race. "So if you the victim is Palestinian and the murderer is a Jew, every conceivable trick is employed to acquit the murderer." The lawyer stressed that justice and Israel shouldn't be used in the same phrase. "You see there can be no justice under such a Nazi-like occupation. The two are simply inherently incompatible. A state and an army that murders children on their way to school and shoots civilians knowingly and deliberately and practices the vilest acts of terror and humiliation can't really be expected to observe the principles of justice. Israeli courts normally don't indict soldiers involved in killing Palestinians for murder or even manslaughter. Instead, the usual charge brought against these murderers is "misuse of IDF-issued weapon" and "behaving in a manner unbecoming of soldiers."
Until a few years ago, Israeli soldiers convicted of killing innocent Palestinians were fined the equivalent of one US cent. The symbolic fine is meant to underscore the racist Israeli perception of non-Jewish lives as worthless.
Many of the Israeli courts, whether military or civilians, are staffed with religious-Zionist judges who are indoctrinated in Jewish racism which views non-Jews in general as lesser human beings or even outright animals.
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian Aqsa intifada, Israeli occupation troops killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, including as many as 1300 children and minors. Thousands of other Palestinian civilians were also injured or maimed in what human rights organizations have called "Israel's liberal slaughter of Palestinians.""