‘Pure Propaganda’: B’Tselem Slams Israeli Announcement to Look into Killings in Gaza

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem described the military’s announcement that the general staff investigation mechanism led by Brig. Gen. Motti Baruch will look into the incidents in which Palestinians were killed, focusing on civilian deaths, as pure propaganda, intended � among other things � to prevent an independent international investigation.

B’Tselem in a position paper entitled, If the heart be not callous: On the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, said Israel is treating the protest in Gaza as it has handled similar events in the past: Broad, unlawful use of lethal force at a heavy price to lives, baseless legal interpretations issued to justify this policy, and whitewashing the crimes within days.

The paper provides legal analysis explaining why the orders given the soldiers, permitting live fire at unarmed civilians who do not pose a danger, are unlawful.

B’Tselem said Israeli officials are relying on worst-case scenarios to justify these orders. Yet hypothetical situations � such as thousands of Palestinians crossing the fence into Israel � are not enough to justify prior permission to open lethal fire at demonstrators.

The center stressed that given the combination of local public opinion, which ranges from ardent support to indifference, and a judiciary skilled in draining moral rules of meaning and whitewashing crime, it is difficult to imagine the necessary substantive change coming from within Israel.

Source: Palestine Chronicle