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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 November 2018

Justice remains elusive in Gaza

Israel has again absolved itself of wrongdoing in 2014 despite overwhelming evidence
Father of a Palestinian victim of an Israeli military strike on a beach in Gaza visits with members of his family the graves of their loved-ones. Mahmud Hams / AFP PHOTO
Father of a Palestinian victim of an Israeli military strike on a beach in Gaza visits with members of his family the graves of their loved-ones. Mahmud Hams / AFP PHOTO

The images shocked the world. Four young boys ripped apart by an Israeli air strike on a beach in Gaza. The immediate aftermath of this atrocity took place in front of the international media and quickly became one of the defining moments of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip last summer.

Unsurprisingly, the Israeli government absolved itself of any wrong doing in an internal report released last week. Declaring the event to be a “tragic accident”, the Israeli government said its fighters were targeting a Hamas operations hub when one of their missiles mowed down the children playing football on a Gaza beach. Journalists at the scene said that there was little more than an old fisherman’s shed on the beach and nothing close to an “operations hub” anywhere in the area.

This sort of arrogance from Israel is not surprising. Time and again, the Israeli government “investigates” itself after these damning events only to find that its soldiers did nothing wrong. This particular report comes shortly before the release of the United Nations Human Rights Council findings on the 2014 Gaza war, which will probably be much harsher on the Israeli army than their own internal investigation.

Some of Israel’s own soldiers have countered the web of lies that the government is attempting to manufacture. Members of the combat veteran group Breaking the Silence released a booklet of testimonies last month in which soldiers describe the war crimes they committed in Gaza. The Israeli foreign ministry tried in vain to have one of the group’s exhibitions about the war shut down in Zurich last month but succeeded in muzzling the group in Germany.

All of this points to a simple fact, Israel’s government is unable or unwilling to provide Palestinians with justice. Therefore, the need for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation, as the Palestinians are now pursuing, has never been greater. It is wrong to force Palestinians to wait for justice that will never materialise from their occupier. The way forward now runs through the reach of the ICC.