Defense Minister calls for criminal probe of B’Tselem

Last week, B’Tselem told soldiers that the IDF’s order to shoot at Palestinians close to the border fence separating Israel and Gaza was illegal under international law.

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April 9, 2018 03:31
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit should consider opening a criminal probe against the left-wing organization B’Tselem for its calls for soldiers to disobey live fire orders at the Gaza border, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday.

Last week, B’Tselem told soldiers that the IDF’s order to shoot at Palestinians close to the border fence separating Israel and Gaza was illegal under international law. It called on them to disobey such orders.

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B’Tselem said that Palestinians at the border were unarmed protesters, while the IDF has portrayed them as terrorists who want to infiltrate Israel.

Since the six-week event, billed as the “Great March of Return” was launched on March 30th, the IDF has killed 31 Palestinians.

In a letter to Mandelblit, Liberman said: “I take a serious view of this attempt to sow fear and division among IDF fighters and commanders at a time when the IDF is protecting Israel’s southern border from Hamas sabotage and provocations.”

“Even in this complicated situation, the IDF and its fighters have operated in a moral and legal manner,” he said.

“I am asking that you immediately open an investigation into B’Tselem’s request to IDF soldiers and commanders. In particular, I would like to examine whether this constitutes a criminal offense under Section 110 of the Penal Law (incitement to disobedience), which [mandates] a more severe punishment when it is committed during a period of hostilities against the State of Israel,” Liberman said.

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B’Tselem said in response: “We reiterate our appeal to Israeli soldiers to refuse to abide by patently unlawful orders to use lethal force against unarmed protesters in Gaza. The dangerous assertions made by Minister Lieberman, implying Gazan protesters are legitimate target, evince disdain for basic morals.”

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