Israeli Attorney-General asked to investigate extrajudicial assassinations

Two Israeli attorneys representing the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel have sent a letter to Israel’s Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, demanding that he launches a criminal investigation into extrajudicial killings of Palestinians by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet. In their letter, the attorneys, Avigdor Feldmand and Michael Sfard, request from Mazuz “to clearly and unconditionally prohibit assassinations when detention is an alternative and to prohibit giving advance approval to harming innocent bystanders”. The letter follows an investigation published last month in Israel’s most prominent newspaper, Ha’aretz, revealing that the IDF routinely assassinate wanted Palestinians in the West bank, even when detention “appears to be a viable alternative”. In 2006, the Israeli High Court called for an examination of the extrajudicial assassinations, which are routine and often involve the murder of bystanders. In one such case in 2002, an Israeli F-16 assassinated Hamas leader Salah Shahadeh by dropping a 1-ton bomb on a Gaza apartment. The bomb killed Shahadeh along with his wife, his daughter and “at least 11 other Palestinians, including seven children” between the ages of two months and 14 years, who happened to be in the apartment buildings. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs later said the assassination was “correct and professional, as were the operational assessments”. [IA]

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