As the peoples and governments of the world were commemorating the World Day of Human Rights, young Mustafa Tamimi fell on the ground. He did not fell on the ground as a sudden heart failure or a sudden high blood pressure or a sudden illness he had not taken care of. He fell on the ground due to a smoke bomb targeted to his face by an Israeli soldier who was, with other soldiers, suppressing a peaceful demonstration in Al-Nabi Saleh village, in protest of confiscating their land and annexing it behind the wall to Halmeesh Jewish settlement.
Like the case in many other Palestinian villages, the Israeli occupation has confiscated parts of Al-Nabi Saleh village through inequitable decisions for expanding settlements in the Palestinian West Bank and imposing a fait accompli to prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state regionally connected. However, the Palestinians of the neighboring towns and villages have become accustomed to organize a peaceful demonstration every Friday, holding slogans calling for returning the land to its owners and for the departure of occupation. On their part, the soldiers of the occupation, without any justification, shot the demonstrators with gas bombs, tear bombs, and shower of rubber bullets, and sometimes they used live bullets, regardless to the life of the Palestinian citizen, neglecting his/her right to express his/her opinion and claim his/her stolen land or defend his/her properties. The right of property, as stated by the international legitimacy and the principles of democracy, is a sacred right and no one has the right to dispossess by force.
It was not the first time a Palestinian citizen is hit by Israeli bullets leading to his death. Many others like Basem Abu Rahmah in Baleen village had been shot in similar circumstances and many other tens had been wounded or fainted and nearly lost their consciousness under the effect of tear gas. We saw in Baleen village one of these demonstrations and saw how tear gas bombs hailed them through the barbed fence, although the Israeli soldiers were not threatened by the demonstrators, except if we consider shouting, speeches and slogans on pieces of cardboard threats to the life of the Israeli soldier who is armed to the teeth.
Presenting itself as a democratic state, Israel hurriedly started, through its concerned bodies, an investigation about the circumstances of the killing of Tamimi. The case was sent to the military police of the occupation army which, itself, is the offender and the investigator and the judge
Maariv newspaper says on 7/12/2011, “905 of the Palestinians’ complaints against the soldiers of the occupation are left without conviction, and only 6% of the investigations in the last few years ended with indictments, but this does not mean that these charges ended with meaningful punishments.
The newspaper says that the leftist organization “There is a Law” has followed up 192 complaints and analyzed the content of 67 investigation files of the military police related to killing, damages, and stealing or illegal seizure of property or harassment of prisoners in prisons.
The newspaper adds that “between’ 2000 – 2010 the military police received 3150 notifications about violations against the Palestinian citizens by the Israeli soldiers and their officials. Out of these notifications only 1949 files were open and resulted in 112 indictments against 190 soldiers and officials. That is to say, 90% of the files did not lead to indictment. And out of 181 charged soldiers and officials only 163 ones were convicted. “There is a Law Organization” says, “The investigation followed by the military police lead to meaningless results”. For example, in January 2009 a case was filed to the military police against an Israeli soldier who unjustly shot dead a fourteen-year boy while he was going back home. No criminal investigation has been opened so far in order to become difficult in future to summon the witnesses and know the circumstances of the crime, which gives the justification to the Israeli investigator to close the case under the pretext of the absence of testimonies or witnesses”.
According to the report of the “There is a Law Organization”, in 89% of the cases the military investigating magistrate rejects to open a criminal investigation against the criminal soldiers.
Mustafa Tamimi, whose case was referred to be investigated, was the 21st to be killed by the occupation army in peaceful demonstrations, and these cases are still waiting for their turn to be criminally investigated by the Israeli army.
On the other side of the picture we see something completely different. When Jewish settlers are attacked by the Palestinians- as described by the Israeli circles when the Palestinians want to defend themselves or keep their honor- the judicial authorities quickly file a case and follow it up to the end in favor of the settler where it puts him/her in the position of the victim and imposes a compensation against the damage they allege.
While referring to the world day of human rights, the Israeli papers called for organizing a eulogistic ceremony to the rights of the Palestinian man whose human rights are daily violated by the occupation and the settlers.
Some journalists (Egal Gross –Haartz 11/12/2011) could not but confess that the occupation army stands as an onlooker if the settlers attack Palestinians. But it does not hesitate to interfere in favor of the settlers if the Palestinians succeed in defending themselves and driving back the settlers. It is true that there are too many proofs about the violations of Israel to the human rights of the Palestinians, but the admission of the Israeli press and some civil institutions to the violations of the Israeli army against the Palestinians is considered a strong testimony in favor of the Palestinians.
According to the international laws, the Israeli occupation authorities are responsible for protecting the residents of the occupied land from the hard practices of the soldiers and from the assaults of the settlers as well. These practices have become a systematic policy in the Palestinian West Bank. It is a policy that expresses a bitter antagonism in the hearts of the Israelis against every Palestinian people.
In fact, the behaviors of the occupation army and the settlers in violating the rights of the Palestinian people are the real outcome of the occupation, colonization and racial trends which governs the consciousness of the Israeli political and military leaderships. Consequently, how can the tools of repression and autocracy become tools of protection?
It is clear that referring the crimes of occupation to an Israeli military courts aims at distracting the attention of the public opinion and assuming democracy. The crimes of the occupation must be referred to the International Criminal Court. We believe that the postponement of this step cannot be looked at but a mere aiding and abetting, which means that the basis of the problem is the occupation and settlement which must end.