(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The High Court of Justice’s landmark decision on Thursday about the IDF's open-fire rules did not give the IDF “a license to kill” Palestinians on the Gaza border, former chief justice Miriam Naor said on Sunday.
Speaking at the Israel Bar Association conference in Eilat, Naor viewed the decision as hashing out a middle ground between those who have condemned the IDF’s rules of engagement as leading to war crimes and those who would oppose any legal pronouncements which might restrict the IDF in confronting the Palestinians on the border.
“The court is being responsible... It sits in this country and not in Olympus, and so it did validate the rules of engagement, but it did something smart: It said that everything must be looked at after-the-fact,” implying that the court could invalidate aspects of the IDF’s conduct once full investigations of all incidents are completed.
She emphasized that the court “did not give a license to kill. If [soldiers] are supposed to aim for the legs, they must aim for the legs.”
Moving on to the African migrants issue, Naor said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should readopt some version of the UN plan which he had briefly flirted with.
Naor said: “I don’t know what happened to the UN plan. I hear there are approaches to go back to it. Maybe it is not optimal and needs some amending. But substantively, this was a good plan.”
“A certain number of migrants will be sent out to civilized nations regarding which no one can say their lives are in danger... Some... migrants get to stay in Israel,” she continued. “What is wrong with this? Does someone really think we can get all of the migrants to leave?”
Continuing, she said: “We started with 60,000. The prime minister put up a border wall. And since then the number has been reduced, and sizably. I personally think we can handle a certain number of migrants.
“Since all of this started, Europe has taken more migrants,” she said. “Maybe while biting their tongue, but we are not alone in this. My view is that we can take a certain number... going back to the UN deal would be good – it would be good to implement it.”
Naor also took aim at the recently announced campaign of the Right to press the High Court to rule in their favor regarding the Settlement Regulations Law at a hearing next week.
Responding to the campaign, which refers to the court’s handling of this issue and similar issues as being “a fixed game,” Naor defended their legal right to criticize the court, but found the campaign lacking from an ethical perspective.
“I think that the campaign statement is regrettable, even if it is permitted according to the law of freedom of speech,” she said. Saying that the court’s handling of issues is ‘a fixed game’ is not proper in my eyes.”
The movement to support the Settlement Regulations Law responded by asking Naor why so many court rulings were, in their opinion, “180 degrees away from the conscience of elected officials and, essentially, from a large majority of the public?”
Earlier, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein took aim at the High Court and said that some of its recent rulings had problematically crossed the lines separating powers, crossing over into the Knesset’s sphere.
Edelstein also supported the idea of a law to override High Court vetoes, but would not specify whether he was in favor of an override law requiring a Knesset vote of 61 MKs, 70, or a different number.
Rather, he said he wanted an open dialogue so that all branches of government would reach a consensus or compromise on the issue.
Naor poured cold water on the override law idea, saying there was no need for it and asking rhetorically if people wanted to live in a society where there was no court to defend them because its authority had been gutted.