Several days ago, there was a Palestinian protest outside of Ofer Prison, where many Palestinian detainees are imprisoned. During the protest, two boys were killed. The first report quoted the Border Police saying only rubber bullets were fired. This was a lie, one that’s never been corrected by the police, which never corrects anything. This security unit is widely known as among the most brutal of all involved in repressing Palestinians. Tales of murder and abuse are legend. Anyone with half a brain knew the boys had been killed by live fire.
But this video offered by Defense for Children Palestine, and based on security camera footage from the store of a Palestinian, shows clearly that the boys weren’t just killed, they were murdered in cold blood. The victims were alone. At least one was unarmed (the other might have had a rock and sling). There was no protest or activity in their vicinity when they were murdered. On the video, the shopowner says that the killers likely fired from a lot right next to the prison. They were far enough away that you can’t even see the shooters. So the victims posed no threat to Israeli forces. They were just killed because they were targets of opportunity for trigger-happy 18 year-olds eager for a taste of Palestinian blood or combat.
This is murder. The IDF will not concede that. It may be forced to investigate. But you’ll never find out who pulled the trigger. In fact, the shooters, if not exposed, will likely get a promotion and two notches on their belt.
But just for the hell of it, let’s challenge the IDF to investigate, to hold anyone accountable. I dare them.
The UN has weighed in demanding a “thorough, transparent investigation,” to which I can only say–good luck:
“It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat,” Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, said, according to AFP.
Tonight, I wrote a post about the laughable claims of former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that Israel is a land of laws, because of which there would likely be no war crimes cases brought to the ICC. He noted that for a case to proceed to the Hague, the national justice system must refuse to carry out its responsibilities. But what Ocampo’s comments ignore is that cases of cold-blooded murder like this never even get to court. Often they don’t get investigated. Or if investigated, no charges are ever filed. If charges are filed, no one is ever convicted. If convicted (rarely), they get a slap on the wrist You see how it goes. So how can Israel’s justice system even hear these cases when they’re never brought to court? This is the shame of Israel’s justice system. A shame which Ocampo occludes with his dim, ill-informed statements.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.