Thursday, February 19, 2015

  • Thursday, February 19, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Human Rights Watch has insulted Israel's Supreme Court for not ruling on a question that it was never asked and misrepresenting what it did say:
The Israeli Supreme Court ruling in a suit seeking damages over Rachel Corrie’s death sends a dangerous message to Israeli armed forces that they can escape accountability for wrongful actions, Human Rights Watch said today. Israel’s Supreme Court on February 12, 2015, exempted the Israeli defense ministry from liability for actions by its forces that it deemed to be “wartime activity,” but wrongly refused to assess whether those actions violated applicable laws of armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said.

Corrie, 23, was killed on March 16, 2003, while attempting to prevent an armored Israeli bulldozer from demolishing the home of a Palestinian family near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. She and other foreign nationals, wearing bright orange vests and using megaphones, shouted at and stood in front of bulldozers over the course of several hours to prevent them from destroying homes. Corrie climbed to the top of a mound of earth created by the front blade of a bulldozer, which continued forward, crushing her. The bulldozer operator claimed he didn’t see her.

“This ruling has disturbing implications beyond the Corrie family’s case, as it sends a message that Israeli forces have immunity even for deaths caused by alleged negligence,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “The ruling is a stark reminder that in some areas Israeli jurisprudence has veered completely off the track of international law.

...The ruling flies in the face of the laws of armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said. The ruling grants immunity in civil law to Israeli forces for harming civilians based merely on the determination that the forces were engaged in “wartime activity,” without assessing whether that activity violated the laws of armed conflict, which require parties to the conflict at all times to take all feasible precautions to spare civilian life. Under the laws of armed conflict a state is required to make full reparation for the loss or injury caused by its violations of such laws.

...“Israel’s impunity laws slam the door on civilian victims in Gaza, and look like further evidence that Israel is not genuinely willing to hold its own forces accountable for serious violations,” Whitson said.
Everything HRW and Sarah Leah Whitson said shows how willing the "human rights group" is willing to lie in order to demonize Israel.

Professional Israel-basher
Sarah Leah Whitson
HRW's first claim is that the Supreme Court "wrongly refused to assess whether those actions violated applicable laws of armed conflict." Besides HRW's purposeful misreading of the laws of armed conflict, this was not what the Court was asked; the entire case was about whether the Corries could sue for damages. It is not the place of a court to go beyond the specific question it is being asked; indeed if it had done so it would show that the Supreme Court has little regard for actual laws and legal procedures and is recklessly violating all mores and procedures of a mature legal system. HRW is demanding that the Supreme Court do something which is illegal!

The organization is also wrong in claiming that the accidental killing of Corrie is a violation of the laws of war. Israeli law had already ruled that clearing operations at the Gaza border to find smuggling tunnels were considered wartime activity because Arabs would routinely violently attack the IDF at those times. Accidentally killing someone in wartime is not a violation of the laws of war, and in this case Corrie purposefully and stupidly put herself in front of a moving vehicle in a war zone. (The Court noted that the US government had warned citizens to stay away from Gaza because it was dangerous, showing yet again that the only party who acted negligently towards Corrie's life was Corrie herself.)

Next, Sarah Leah Whitson says the ruling "sends a message that Israeli forces have immunity even for deaths caused by alleged negligence." This is another lie. The court ruling, referring to the earlier Haifa court ruling that it upheld, stated that "the district court addressed the allegations raised by the appellants on their the merits and determined on the basis of the evidence brought, including expert opinion submitted by both parties, that none of the soldiers involved the day saw that Rachel was standing in front of the bulldozer because she was standing in a blind spot in relation to the occupants of the bulldozer. Therefore, it went on to hold, there is no reason to attribute to IDF fighters intentional harm against Rachel and therefore even without the immunity granted to a state [for acting in a war zone] the tort of assault does not exist in the circumstances of this case."

So there was no negligence - and no message that soldiers can act negligently, as HRW claims.

HRW's claim that Israel acts with "impunity," one of their favorite words, is belied by the fact that the Court did not dismiss another aspect of the case, about how Corrie's remains were handled. The only people acting with impunity are those with HRW, which makes wild claims based on lies about the facts and about international law.

HRW cannot back up its claim that the Supreme Court is going against international law. It makes mere assertions with no legal basis, and it even advocates that a professional legal system violate its own ethics and laws.

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