Israeli army considers Gaza beach death legal

Israel announces death of four Palestinian boys killed in beach in Gaza last summer not illegal

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

After the internal investigation was conducted on Thursday, Israeli army spokesman, Peter Lerner stated on Facebook that the Israeli army had broken no laws by killing the boys.

“After reviewing the investigation's findings, the Military Advocate General found that the attack process in question accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements,” the Israeli army spokesman said.

“At the time that the decision was made, the attack was not, according to the assessment of the operational entities, expected to result in any collateral damage to civilians or to civilian property,” he added.

The four boys - Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both aged 10, 9-year-old Mohamed Ramez Bakr and 11-year-old Ismail Mohamed Bakr - were killed in a double missile strike on last July 16. The four boys were of the same family. They died as they were playing in a beach in Gaza. After one year of internal investigations the Israeli army announced the legality of the crime.

“The Military Advocate General found that the professional discretion exercised by all the commanders involved in the incident had not been unreasonable under the circumstances […] The Military Advocate General ordered that the investigation file be closed without any further legal proceedings – criminal or disciplinary – to be taken against those involved in the incident,” Lerner said.

Defence for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) was alarmed by the huge number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli army during the Gaza offensive.

"Israeli forces continue to target and kill children and civilians on a daily basis, making Israeli military statements claiming that these deaths are tragic mistakes simply meaningless," DCIP's executive director, Rifat Kassis, said at the time of the attack.

The beach in which the incident took place was used by Hamas fighters in a separated compound from the civilians part, according to the claims in the report released by the Israeli Defence Minister (IDM).

This incident is likely to be in the file to be presented by Palestinians to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as evidence of Israeli war crimes carried out against Palestinians. But the Israeli military seems to be confident as they expressed earlier that the internal probes they made will be sufficient to stop any action by the ICC based in Hague.

The statement also said Israeli army was closing the files on two other incidents, the July 21 air raid in central Gaza that killed 15 and injured more than 29 and the strike on Khan Yunis that claimed the lives of civilians from the same family.

According to media reports, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday decided not to put Israel on the list of children harming organisations and countries.

The decision made by Ban comes as an answer on his special envoy Leila Zerrougui's recommendation to put Israel on the list alongside with ISIS and Al Qaeda for its atrocities in 2014 offensive on Gaza.

Human Rights Watch urged last week the UN chief to resist pressure from Israel and its allies to drop it from the list.

At least 2,189 Palestinians were killed in the 50-day offensive on Gaza including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN estimates. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were also killed.

TRTWorld and agencies