How much is a ten year-old Palestinian girl worth? If you’re the Israeli government or police, nothing. If you’re Bassam Aramin, her father, her worth is beyond measure. If you’re an Israeli court, you might, Solomon-like, split the baby and the difference, as the Jerusalem District Court did when it awarded Aramin over $400,000 over the negligent death of his precious daughter, Abir, at the hands of a Border Policeman.
So far so decent. But the crime here, aside from the original killing of this girl, was that the very same court, after finding that she was killed in an act of negligence and by a police officer who fired in violation of proper procedures, refused to hold the killer liable for his act. This is a legal system which refuses to hold specific Israeli policemen and soldiers accountable for their actions. It finds Palestinian life so cheap that it’s far more convenient to deal with death through financial compensation rather than personal culpability.
This is totally unacceptable. If there is ever to be peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the former must not be allowed to say that we can bargain away our crimes with a payment, rather than a personal punishment.
You cannot put a value on the life of a little girl, especially when an Israeli policeman with a gun kills her so brutally. It is almost an insult that the Court has done so, especially in light of its refusal to hold the killer accountable. He has likely gone right back to his former job and either will kill again, or at the very least continue abusing Palestinians, as is the habit of the Israeli Border Police, true thuggish enforcers of Israeli power.
To contribute to a beautiful memorial to Abir, founded by Bassam’s colleagues at Combatants for Peace, donate here to Abir’s Garden.
Aharon Eviatar says
Not quite fair to the civil court Richard. The lawsuit was filed in a civil court that has no criminal jurisdiction and it took some courage on the part of the judges to rule that the government was accountable. It was the Supreme Court that finally agreed that it was not feasible to identify the shooter, who was not a police officer, but a conscript soldier, serving as part of a legal fiction in the Border Police. The BP are ordinary soldiers in all except name. I hold no brief for them and have inhaled more of their tear gas than I would like, but it is not right to blame the judges who held the government as a whole accountable and liable for damages for the failure of the military justice system to prosecute the killers. The Aramin family chose to use the civil courts and certainly did not expect a criminal verdict. You are lumping together apples and oranges.
I agree with Aharon Eviatar, but he is wrong on the matter of the Border Police – many of the BP are indeed conscripts who would otherwise be soldiers, but there is also a high percentage of professional police serving there who are not conscripts.
Moreover, the military justice courts have NO JURISDICTION over these policemen who are policemen to all intents and purposes and answerable the the police chain of command. The IDF has no say in their actions once a conscript is drafted into the BP rather than the IDF.
If a Border Policeman is tried it will be in a police disciplinary hearing, or in a regular criminal civil court, depending on the severity of the case and the findings and recommendations of “machash”, the special department in the justice ministry for investigating complaints against policemen.
I’d be interested in hearing what were machash’s findings in this case.
I’m not following either Aharon or Shmuel’s exoneration of the Israeli govt for not holding Abir Aramin’s killer(s) criminally responsible. Murder is murder whether by IDF or BP…machts nicht…
There is culpability in that her killer acted knowingly, purposely, recklessly and negligently.
US military members have (on occasion)actually been held accountable for homicides of innocent civilians there should be a trial, conviction and punishment. Instead of putting a gun back in his hands and sending him to do it again.
It is a disgrace and a travesty of “justice” to merely pay restitution without a finding for her grieving parents.
How many more unconvicted (uniformed) killers remain on active or reserve duty?
Was this uniformed murderer acting on his own or following an order? has this been determined? If so, by whom and what year did that happen? How many many times have we read about these murderers getting away with their crimes?