Ref: 31/2015

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights
(PCHR) strongly condemns the decision taken the Israeli Military Advocate
General (MAG) to close three claims relating to the 50-day "Operation
Protective Edge" launched on the Gaza Strip without any prosecutions.

 

On 14 June 2015, PCHR received three negative
replies from the Israeli MAG. These replies were published on the official
website of the Israeli army. They stated that MAG ordered closing three claims
under the pretext that no criminal suspicion was proved regarding decisions
taken to launch attacks, the stages of the attacks were in conformity with the
provisions of the Israeli and international Laws, in addition, the decisions to
launch the attacks were taken by competent authorities.

 

The claims ordered to be closed were as
follows:

 

– The
case of children of the Baker family: The attack occurred at approximately
04:05 on 16 July 2014, which was the eighth day of the Israeli military
operation codenamed "Operation Protective Edge", when a group of
children from the Baker family were attacked while playing at Gaza beach. A
number of shells were consecutively fired at them in order to
apparently ensure that none of them would survive
. As a result of the attack, four children were
killed and four others were wounded.


– The
case of the al-Kilani and Derbas families in al-Salam multi-storey building: At
approximately 20:00 on 21 July 2014, al-Salam building, which was a residential
and commercial building located in a densely populated area in the center of
Gaza City, was attacked by a massive bomb that was dropped over the building  targeting a member of the Islamic Jihad. As a
result, 11 civilians, including five children, four women and two men, from the
al-Kilani and Derbas families were killed and the upper six floors of the
building were destroyed. It should be noted that the al-Kilani and Derbas
families fled their homes due to violent attacks.


– The
case of Mohammed Atta al-Najjar from Khan Yunis: The al-Najjar family were
attacked on 29 July 2014, as a massive bomb was dropped on their house. As a
result, eight civilians were killed and four others were wounded. Moreover, the
house was completely destroyed.


– The justifications
presented by MAG, the claim that what happened complied with the international
law and the statement made by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Cabinet meeting
yesterday, 14 June 2015, that the acts carried out by the Israeli army during
the war on Gaza were based on the international law are all against reason and
logic and definitely confirm the inherent flaws in the Israeli investigation
system, which offers a legal cover for war crimes.


 

The
Israeli denial of entry of the
United Nations Independent Commission of
Inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and human
rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Eat Jerusalem, into
the Gaza Strip to investigate crimes committed by Israeli forces during
"Operation Protective Edge" reveals that the Israeli investigation
system does not comply with the international standards. The question now is:
Will Israel allow the delegation assigned by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
(ICC) to visit the crime scene by the end of this month or will it as usual ban
the delegation from entering the Gaza Strip, closely observing the facts and
meeting the victims?

 

If
the Israeli investigation system follows the international standards, why are
there raging concerns over the Palestinians heading to the ICC? And why is
there all that political pressure on the Palestinian authority for years and
years to prevent it from signing and ratifying the ICC Rome Statute?

 

PCHR
believes that the Israeli judicial system is used to offer a legal cover for
war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli forces.
Furthermore, PCHR points out that it has received from MAG only 18 replies, 10
of which were negative, out of 244 criminal complaints submitted by PCHR on
behalf of 1,076 victims of "Operation Protective Edge".

 

PCHR
underscores that its expertise throughout tens of years and after the latest
amendments to the Israeli Tort Law, namely "Amendment no. 8/2012", it
became definitely clear that all crimes committed by Israeli forces against
Palestinian civilians go unpunishable, and the perpetrators are not be
prosecuted according to the Israeli legislature. Therefore, we need to use and
employ the international legislation and head to the ICC.

 

PCHR
has always been preparing dozens of files to prosecute Israeli war criminals at
the international level, especially before the ICC.