Sun., December 11, 2005 Kislev 10, 5766 Israel Time: 11:55 (EST+7)
Last update - 11:55 11/12/2005
High Court to hear petitions against targeted killings
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent
State Prosecutor for Special Issues Shai Nitzan submitted recently a
document to the High Court of Justice in which he alleges the policy of
targeted killings of Palestinian militants by the Israel Defense Forces is
not in violation of the law. The document was submitted ahead of
deliberations involving two petitions against the army's continued policy of
targeted killings to be discusses Sunday at the court.
According to Nitzan, as a result of the end of Israeli military control
in the Gaza Strip following the disengagement, Gaza is subject to the "law
of war" under which the killings are legally permissible, rather than the
"laws of occupation" or the "laws of belligerent occupation" that
governed the area previously.
The Public Committee against Torture is petitioning against the state's
"assassinations policy," while Yesh Gvul is demanding a criminal
investigation against current IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and former chief
of staff Moshe Ya'alon for their part in the killing of 14 innocent
Palestinians in the assassination of Hamas activist Saleh Shehadeh in July
"On September 12, 2005, the last Israel Defense Forces soldier left the Gaza
Strip," Nitzan wrote, "as a result of which the military regime that existed
in Gaza since 1967 was ended. This change means that from that date the
laws of belligerent occupation no longer apply to the Gaza Strip.
The state's position was and still is that the laws applying to targeted
killings in a situation of armed conflict are those of war and not those of
The State Prosecutor's Office insists that the issue of targeted killings
cannot be adjudicated because "the petition relates to Israeli military
activity as part of its battling against terror that is carried out in the
framework of armed struggle."
The petition was first submitted in 2002 but was frozen last summer after
Israeli suspended its killings policy. In September the justices decided to
combine the two petitions, and after the assassinations began again a couple
of weeks ago, they decided to discuss them both.