Netanyahu Furious as US Lawmakers Seek Probe of Israel’s Extrajudicial Killings

Letter Expresses Concern About 'Grave' Human Rights Violations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today expressed outrage at Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) and a number of other Congressmen over their request that the State Department investigate reports of extrajudicial killings by Israeli security forces.

Netanyahu insisted Israeli security forces “are not murderers” and that it is wholly inappropriate to investigate them for the killings they do. This comes amid a high-profile legal dispute within Israel over an IDF medic killing an already wounded and disarmed Palestinian, though that killing wasn’t specifically mentioned in the Leahy letter.

The letter did mention Amnesty International and other NGOs reporting several other similar killings, along with the use of torture against certain detainees, including Wasim Marouf. The Leahy Law bars the State and Defense Departments from providing military aid to nations that violate human rights.

Questions about Israel’s routine use of open-ended detention, abuse of detainees, and summary executions of Palestinians are nothing new, though having US Congressmen actually raise such questions certainly is, as traditionally Israel has been viewed as immune from criticism among US lawmakers.

Netanyahu’s outrage is similarly par for the course, though the fact that he was just in the middle of a particularly ugly battle over an extrajudicial killing, and that polls have shown the vast majority of Israelis oppose any legal ramifications for a soldier executing a Palestinian in violation of orders adds considerable intrigue to the matter.

The Leahy letter also mentions the other major recipient of US military aid, Egypt, though since the Obama Administration ignored a military coup d’etat and wholesale massacres on the streets of major Egyptian cities in the wake of that coup, it’s hard to imagine complaints about repeated disappearances of dissidents is going to amount to anything.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.