Human Rights Groups Making it Increasingly Difficult for Israel to Kill Palestinians

Sydney Barakat
July 22, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Criticism of Israel is continually gaining traction, as we have witnessed throughout the year. Most notably, the disapproval has stemmed from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge assault on Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians— mostly civilians—were killed. It’s refreshing to see that the Israeli government—especially within the past few months—is starting to be held even somewhat accountable for its actions. It is encouraging that at the very least we’re now discussing Israel’s accountability.

One hefty criticism of Israel lies within the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, which ultimately pointed the finger at Israeli officials, commanders, and soldiers for not having been careful enough in preventing civilian casualties.

Further, other occurrences have also provided grounds for critiquing the Israeli government, in part because Israel seems to regularly target children. For instance, impunity was granted to IDF soldiers— and the commanders who directed them—after an airstrike killed four children playing on a beach in Gaza. They were killed because the soldiers “mistook” the children for Hamas gunmen.

Then there is the story of Israeli soldiers who knowingly killed children, as revealed through text messages they sent to each other before firing.

Lastly— and most recently— the Human Rights Watch accused Israel of abusively detaining Palestinian children. The accusations assert that “Israeli security forces have used unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children.” HRW further said that “Forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts.” There are numerous individual cases listed, as well, including the case of an 11-year-old boy who had a bag placed over his head before being repeatedly kicked.

Israel’s practices of torture, abuse, and humiliation extend beyond children— they target all Palestinians, regardless of age. But if the constant abuse of children doesn’t open one’s eyes to Israel’s ruthlessness, what will?

Amid this apparent hopelessness, there is still good news: individuals and organizations alike are finally increasingly becoming aware of Israel’s fascist practices, including its human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

One organization called Breaking the Silence is an exceptional example of self-accountability.

In May of this year, Democracy Now reported on the group. The headline reads, “Kill Anything”: Israeli Soldiers Say Gaza Atrocities Came from Orders for Indiscriminate Fire,” and includes transcripts of IDF soldiers who’ve decided to blow the whistle on Israel’s war crimes. Shockingly, as the transcript states, “…a first sergeant in the Israeli military, his voice distorted, describes how a commander told him, ‘There are no innocent civilians…’” This essentially reveals how soldiers were ordered to kill anyone, regardless of their age or innocence.

If you still support Israel, it is time to reconsider your stance. There is a substantial body of evidence that proves the Israeli government takes innocent Palestinian lives without hesitation and often without repercussion. It is time to stand on the right side of history, alongside the individuals and groups that have been—or are starting to—hold Israel accountable for its actions.

(For more information on Breaking the Silence, visit their website by clicking here.)

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Sydney Barakat joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in January of 2015. Her topics of interest include foreign policy, the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Islamic affairs, American politics, food safety, public health, police brutality, law enforcement reformation, and prison reformation. Living at her place of birth, she currently resides in Fullerton, California. Learn more about Barakat here!