Israeli Rights Group Slams Army Over Civilian Killings

Insists Lack of Accountability Encourages a 'Trigger-Happy Attitude'

by Jason Ditz, September 14, 2010

A new report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem warns that the Israeli Army is failing to hold its soldiers accountable in cases of civilian deaths, cautioning that the slaying of Palestinian civilians is rarely punished even when there is evidence of criminality in the killings.

This policy permits soldiers and officers to act in violation of the law, encourages a trigger-happy attitude and shows a flagrant disregard for human life,” the report cautions.

The group cites a list of 617 Palestinian civilians killed by the military, including a large number who were under the age of 18. Of all of the killings, the army investigated only 23, and no criminal charges were brought in any of them.

Israel’s military insisted that their only response to the allegations had already been made through the court system, and it would be up to the court to decide on the merits.

At the same time the Israeli military admitting to killing three civilians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, including a 91 year old and his 17 year old grandson. Perhaps underscoring B’Tselem’s point better than any report could, the military shrugged off the killings as a “cast of mistaken identity” and does not appear to be mulling any charges against those who killed them.

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