Occupied Palestine, ALRAY - B'Tselem center published Monday a position paper explaining that Israel's promise to investigate 11 incidents in which Palestinian protesters were killed is mere propaganda.
The center published the paper ahead of the UN Human Rights Council meeting on the findings of the UN commission of inquiry into the 2018 Gaza protests.
B’Tselem’s director, Hagai El-Ad called upon the head of the commission, Santiago Canton, to reject the tapestry of lies Israel has woven while killing more unarmed protesters: “A real change in Israeli policy will only take place if the international community demands it clearly and unequivocally, and if it stops allowing Israel to do no more than offer hollow promises of ‘investigation’.”
The paper noted that Israel's announcing investigations is a standard ploy that Israel employs to ease international pressure whenever its unlawful policy elicits criticism.
The paper added that Israel has implemented , a year ago , an unlawful open-fire policy towards Palestinians protesting near the Gaza perimeter fence, which permits live fire at unarmed protesters who pose no danger to anyone.
Immediately after the international outcry over the dozens of fatalities , Israel employed its tried-and-true tactic in such situations and swiftly announced it would “investigate exceptional incidents.
The paper explained that the investigations regarding 11 specific incidents all are still pending. Meanwhile , the regulations remain unchanged and are still being implemented in the field. People are still being killed or wounded, and no one is questioning the policy or being held to account for it.
The “investigations” carried out by the military whitewashing mechanism, under the leadership of the Military Advocate General (MAG), are meaningless other than their role in aiding Israel’s effort to silence international criticism.
The investigations do not deter the Israeli troops serving on the ground, as they are so few and far between, and even in cases in which an investigation was actually launched, it was then almost invariably closed without any further measures. Nor do the investigations achieve justice for the victims or their families.
B'Tselem stated in its paper that the investigations and accountability are no merely theoretical issue or one of image. They are a matter of life and death. Investigations are necessary so that senior officials realize that they cannot give unlawful orders, and to demonstrate to the troops in the field the parameters of the use of force. When propaganda diversion tactics succeed in preventing accountability, there is a price to pay, and it is measured in human lives.
It called on the international community to stop buying into Israel’s propaganda ploys concerning so-called “investigations”. There is no rational basis to expect Israel to carry out a real investigation. It does not have the slightest interest in investigating the policy itself, condemning it or demanding accountability from those responsible. Therefore, the international community must make the most of its power and influence to compel Israel to change its policy and immediately cease the gunfire at protesters who pose no danger.