Israel's High Court of Justice.
(photo credit: ISRAELTOURISM / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The IDF does not need to give more information to the family of St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul to prove that he died during the 2014 Gaza war, the High Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday.
Shaul has been presumed dead since Operation Protective Edge after the IDF rabbinate declared, based on a variety of evidence, that he was killed in action. For example, Shaul’s vehicle was hit by an anti-tank missile which killed several others in the vehicle. Still, the declaration came despite the fact that his body was taken by Hamas, such that the IDF rabbinate could not confirm his death by viewing his remains.
However, his family petitioned
the High Court to order the IDF to turn over additional classified information which it said might shed light on the possibility that Shaul might still be alive.
While the government has negotiated with Hamas for the return of Shaul’s body along with that of another missing soldier, Hadar Goldin, the family implied that the government has not pushed hard in negotiations, partially by presenting to the public that it was only seeking the return of Shaul’s body, not a live soldier (although there are two other Israeli civilians being held by Hamas who are presumed to be alive.)
The High Court said that the IDF has given a large amount of information to the family, including additional information in a recent arbitration conducted by former chief justice Asher Grunis.
Regarding portions of the IDF rabbinate meetings’ transcripts which were blacked-out, testimony from soldiers in his unit and records collected by the IDF Eitan Unit responsible for probing the incident, which have not been shown to the family, the High Court said that the army had acted reasonably in balancing turning over information relevant to proving Shaul is in fact dead with protecting national security.
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