Israeli Supreme Court fails to ban assassination attacks of Palestinian activists

Published December 14th, 2006 - 11:01 GMT

The Israeli Supreme Court decided Thursday not to issue a ban against assassination attacks of Palestinian activists, ruling that some of the killings were legal under international law. The Israeli human rights organization "B'tselem" estimates that 339 Palestinians have been killed in these operations over the past six years. Of those, 210 were the targets and the rest were innocent bystanders.


According to the AP, the three-judge panel unanimously ruled that "it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is prohibited according to customary international law," while also noting that the tactic was not necessarily legal in every case.


Two human rights groups, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment petitioned the court to ban the policy in 2002, but the court repeatedly delayed issuing a decision on the case.


Arab Members in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) have blasted the High Court ruling.  MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) said: "The High Court has given its authorization to extrajudicial executions and war crimes." "The issue must be transferred to the international courts," continued Zahalka, according to Haaretz. "The matter is not an internal Israeli one, but rather must be dealt with within an international framework."


On his part, MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) said "This is the continuation of the High Court's security-oriented stance, which since 1967 has authorized expropriation, expulsion, uprootings, and assassinations."


Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh also slammed the ruling, saying it "grants false legitimacy to Israeli occupation and crimes, including murder and assassination."

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