Israeli Supreme Court Rejects New Probe into Killing of Boys on Gaza Beach

Four boys were killed while they were playing soccer on a Gaza Beach in 2014. (Photo: via Adalah)

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected on Sunday an appeal to reopen an investigation into the killing of four Palestinian children by Israeli airstrikes in 2014, while they played on a beach in the Gaza Strip, the human rights organization Adalah said in a statement.

The decision has been slammed by the children’s family and lawyers, who have said that it is another indication that the occupation state is incapable and unwilling to prosecute Israeli soldiers for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In its ruling, the court upheld earlier decisions by Israeli military investigators and legal authorities which determined that the killing of the children of the Bakr family — all aged between 10 and 11 years — when they were playing football on the beach was a tragic mistake.

“With all of the sorrow and heartache over the tragic and difficult outcome of the event in this petition, [we] did not find that the petitioners pointed to a flaw in the decision of the attorney general,” the presiding judges all agreed. The ruling was signed by the court’s president, Esther Hayut, and approved by two other justices.

The investigation by the Israeli military exonerated the soldier responsible, and claimed that the area where the children were playing “had long been known as a compound belonging to Hamas’s Naval Police and Naval Force (including naval commandos), and which was utilized exclusively by militants.”

This claim has long been disputed by the family and journalists who witnessed the killing. The hut around which the children were playing was in clear sight of nearby hotels where international journalists were staying. All of them reported that they saw no Palestinian fighters in that area at the time of the strike.

They also confirmed that the area was easily accessible to both fishermen and local Palestinians who visit the beach to swim and relax, therefore making it a poor location to keep military supplies, as Israel claimed. Furthermore, the investigation found that the container that the Israeli report described actually contained no trace of military equipment.

The appeal to the Supreme Court was filed by three human rights organizations: the Palestinian group Adalah and the Gaza-based Al-Mezan and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. In a joint statement, the groups said that “the decision is further evidence that Israel is unable and unwilling to investigate and prosecute soldiers and commanders for war crimes against Palestinian civilians.”

The Bakr family members delivered testimony to a preliminary inquiry by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into alleged Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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