After the death of Mustafa Tamimi over the weekend, Ha’aretz published this strong, principled editorial:
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in response that “the army is looking into the incident.” But one needs to wonder about the use of the term “looking into.” A report published last week by Yesh Din-Volunteers for Human Rights, which examined 192 complaints – including an analysis of the content of 67 Military Police investigations into various types of severe harm to Palestinian civilians and their property – reveals that 96.5 percent of the total number of complaints are closed without indictments.
The reasons for this are varied – the lack of Military Police bases in the West Bank, professional shortcomings in the Military Police investigations, victims who retract complaints for fear of losing permits or suffering harm at the hands of soldiers they have complained against. But the conclusion is obvious: When it comes to shooting a Palestinian, pulling the trigger does not come with a real fear of having to answer to the law.
On the day Tamimi was killed, Chaim Levinson published a report in Haaretz that dealt with the failings of the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District with regard to investigations into harm to Palestinians. Concerning the killing of 10-year-old girl Abir Aramin by the IDF in early 2007, the High Court of Justice ruled that the incident was improperly handled; and to date, no one has been called on to answer for the 2009 killing of demonstrator Bassem Abu Rahme. Will the death of Mustafa Tamimi be added to the statistics that show that in Israel, the life of a Palestinian is cheap?
Yes, there’ll be an investigation, and we can wait to hear about that, but Ha’aretz is right: they very rarely come back with anything, let alone an indictment. Let’s not kid ourselves here by thinking that the culprits are always in the clear, it’s very likely that’s not the case. Rather, as Ha’aretz says, there is little concern for the life of the occupied by the occupiers.
Having said that, I really hope that both Ha’aretz and myself will be proven wrong.