JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israel has prosecuted five soldiers after investigating just 73 of 2,219 fatal shootings of Palestinian civilians over seven years of a violent uprising, an Israeli rights group said on Wednesday.
The Yesh Din group, which monitors the legal rights of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, also said in a report that charges were filed against soldiers in only 13 cases.
None of these cases ended in a manslaughter conviction for killing a Palestinian civilian, the group said.
The report covered the period from September 2000, when a Palestinian uprising erupted after peace talks failed, through to the end of 2007.
The Israeli army said in a statement: “It is not possible to derive any sort of ethical conclusions about the attitude of the IDF (Israeli army) to illegal behaviour by soldiers from a statistical analysis.”
It added that there has been a rise in the number of Israeli soldiers reporting human rights violations against Palestinians, attributing the new trend to an educational programme.
Yesh Din said that the only soldier convicted of manslaughter in a case involving the death of a civilian was in the case of a British national and peace activist, Tom Hurndall, shot dead in the Gaza Strip in 2003.
The report found the military resorted largely to debriefing soldiers rather than investigating them. It criticised what it called “a regular pattern” of the military’s failure to bring perpetrators to justice.