Rights groups praise Turkel report

Yesh Din to PM: commission accepted claims of fundamental defects in IDF Investigations; recommendations should be implemented.

Activists pose on Mavi Marmara 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Activists pose on Mavi Marmara 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Human rights groups B’Tselem and Yesh Din on Wednesday praised the Turkel Commission Report part two on its recommendations for “substantive change in the Israeli military’s investigative apparatus.”
A statement released by B’Tselem said that the “commission’s fundamental decisions regarding the issue of what matters should be investigated, by whom and who should be the target of investigations, as well as its decisions with regard to the way investigations are conducted can all lead to a significant improvement in law enforcement in cases of soldiers who have harmed Palestinians.”
Yesh Din’s Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer said the commission “accepted many of Yesh Din’s claims of fundamental defects and failures in IDF investigations.”
“The commission’s recommendations concern basic and central demands of international law, which indicates that the current situation is far from meeting international standards,” Sfard said.
At the same time, Yesh Din “expressed surprise over the gap between the strongly worded recommendations” and the report’s general conclusion that Israel’s investigations were generally consistent with Israel’s obligations under international law.
On that issue, B’Tselem said that its perspective was “forward looking,” and that it planned to “use the report as a working document” to hold the state accountable and ensure that a year from now the recommendations had “actually been implemented.”
B’Tselem called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt the conclusions of “the commission he appointed and implement them.” It said that the commission accepted its position that an “operational inquiry is not suitable as a basis for deciding whether or not the Military Police Investigation Unit should investigate an incident.”
B’Tselem also said that the commission accepted its position that an “obligatory time frame must be fixed in order to prevent the procrastination and delay prevailing among military law enforcement authorities.”
Next, it said that the commission agreed with B’Tselem’s contention that in the West Bank, “an investigation should be begun immediately not only in cases of civilian fatalities, but also in cases of serious injuries to civilians.”
B’Tselem said that at the end of the day, the important thing was to avoid what had happened in the past with other reports, with a “long series