RAMALLAH, January 3, 2016 (WAFA) – The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee, said in a report published on Sunday, that 85 percent of Palestinians who were killed by Israel since the beginning of 2015; 179 Palestinians, were killed in extrajudicial field executions.
It maintained that Israeli forces executed Palestinians in ‘cold-blood’ and on the grounds of mere suspicion, maintaining that forces acted as both judges and executioners.
The committee noted that based on a series of documented and publicized incidents, the majority of Palestinians, who assaulted Israelis or were suspected of doing so, were executed by Israeli forces despite that fact that they posed no immediate danger to the latter’s lives, stressing that forces could have restrained and detained them instead.
The committee added that a large number of Palestinians were left to bleed to death, without providing them with the necessary first aid, or even allowing Palestinian ambulances’ access to them.
It said that the majority of killed Palestinians were shot from a very close range with the intention to kill.
It described Israeli politicians’ calls to kill Palestinians instead of detaining them, as a ‘war crime’, and intentional extrajudicial murders; which it affirmed, violates principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the four Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The committee noted that the Israeli authorities have not conducted any criminal investigations against soldiers who intentionally killed Palestinians, citing an incident where an Israeli sniper was praised for killing a number of Palestinians near Gush Etzion settlement bloc in Hebron.
It further pointed to previous remarks made by Israel’s minister of cultural, in which he called to change the open fire regulations and for the field execution of Palestinians.
“Politicians and senior police officials urged citizens to carry weapons and to shoot to kill. As a result, there were several instances of shooting in breach of the regulations, and innocent people lost their lives,” said the 2015 annual report published by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
“Ministers, Knesset members, senior police officers and other public officials have explicitly called to take revenge on those who commit a stabbing, or are suspected of stabbing, by killing them,” added ACRI.
“The government and Knesset have an obligation to adopt effective measures in order to cope with these difficult events that create fear and undermine the routine of everyday life. However they must do so without deviating from the principles of criminal law and in full consideration of human rights.”
ACRI noted that, “When the suspects in an assault were Jews, none of them were shot (except for a young Jewish man who was apparently thought to be a Palestinian).”
“There is no dispute as to the severity of the incidents and the need to protect the public from stabbings and other assaults. However, it appears that in too many cases, rather than acting in a manner that was appropriate for each incident, police officers and soldiers were quick to open fire in order to kill.”
“The duty of the Israeli government in these times is twofold: It must respond to the reality that has transpired and protect the personal safety of every individual, regardless of his or her nationality; and at the same time, ensure that all of its actions uphold fundamental human rights principles, among them avoiding harm to the innocent, using enforcement measures in a proportional and appropriate manner and maintaining due process.”
ACRI stressed that, “The duty of the authorities to uphold human rights is not limited to routine and peaceful times; human rights are also intended to safeguard all of us in times of emergency, when both the risk of their infringement and the danger resulting from such infringements are multiplied.”
“Unfortunately, the response of Israeli authorities during this difficult time has been frequently characterized by a tendency to prefer extreme measures, unnecessary infringement on rights and liberties and excessive use of force,” added the report, citing the Israeli government’s decision to ‘allow the police to use Ruger bullets against stone-throwers even within Israel and in East Jerusalem.’