In July 2014, Israel began a military assault on the Gaza Strip, including an indiscriminate bombing campaign and a brutal ground invasion. In total, the assault killed 1,545 Palestinian civilians, including 556 children, and made 11,166 families homeless.
For victims and survivors of the attack on Gaza, Israelâ€™s own military courts are the only place to seek legal recourse. Yet these courts fall far short of international standards: they are not independent or impartial, they fail to provide a prompt response to complaints, and they lack any form of transparency.
500 Palestinian complaints were filed with Israeli military courts in relation to the 2014 Gaza war. Of these cases, 196 were dismissed immediately, 133 were lost in the system, and only 31 were brought forward for criminal investigation.
Three soldiers were eventually indicted for looting and aiding and abetting looting, which illuminates the deliberate focus of proceedings on low-level or marginal perpetrators. Military commanders and politiciansâ€”those most responsible for massive destruction and loss of lifeâ€”have never been held accountable for their role in violations of human rights and the international law of armed conflict.
Some might say that Israelâ€™s military court system is broken. In reality, it is designed to promote impunity.
The Israeli Guide to Obstructing Justice was produced as part of a series on the 2014 Gaza war, as a collaboration between Visualizing Palestine, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.