JOIN THE PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO SET UP AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE THE KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS AS A RESULT OF THE SHECHADE BOMBING.
On the night of July 22, 2002, an Israeli Air
Force plane dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential
neighbourhood in Gaza City, in order to assassinate Salah
Shechade, the commander of the military wing of Hamas.
As a result of that "pinpoint preemptive strike" in addition to Shechade and an assistant, 14 innocent human beings -- including 8 children -- were murdered. Most of them lived in adjacent apartment buildings.
Since that deadly night, the Yesh Gvul ("There is a Limit") movement has carried out an intensive public and legal campaign to investigate the bombing and to hold accountable those responsible, at all levels, for the planning, authorization and execution of the so-called "pinpoint liquidation" of Shechade. (For a complete summary of the public and legal efforts: http://yeshgvul.org/articles_e.asp?id=87a4ba17a1619273bd6356b7c2986841)
On September 30, 2003, as part of this campaign, Yesh Gvul, represented by advocates Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) to demand that the HCJ should order the Military Advocate General "to launch a criminal investigation regarding alleged criminal offences committed during the planning and the execution of the liquidation of the Hamas Activist Salah Mustafa Shehada in Gaza City on July 22, 2002, an action in which 14 human beings were killed and many dozens were injured."
(For the complete text of the petition: http://yeshgvul.org/articles_e.asp?id=55b0a5b7ddbf21564b7e5c5a94ccd8fc)
On June 17, 2007 - almost five years since the killing of the 14 innocent people in Gaza and the beginning of our efforts to not let those responsible for their deaths simply walk away - the justices of the HCJ, headed by Chief Justice Dorit Beinish, issued a ruling requesting that the State of Israel provide a response within 45 days as to whether it would appoint an independent commission to investigate this case in an impartial manner. This recent ruling followed another HCJ ruling, issued in December 2006 and written by the former Chief Justice Aharon Barak, in which the HCJ ruled on the legality of the extra-judicial assassination policy. http://elyon1.court.gov.il/eng/verdict/search_eng/verdict_by_case_rslt.asp?case_nbr_html=HCJ+769%2F02
The June 17 decision is a major accomplishment, especially since the HCJ itself has stated:
"Although the guidelines established … do not require a retroactive examination of a preemptive strike from the past, the exceptional and special circumstances of this case merit such an examination of this event."
The HCJ gave the Israeli authorities 45 days to respond. From our past experience, we have little doubt that the State will do whatever it can to avoid setting up this commission.
Thus, in order to make sure that the State moves in a positive direction and decides to empanel such a commission, we have decided to launch a public campaign to call on the Israeli authorities to accept the HCJ's recommendation for the following reasons:
· We all have the responsibility to ensure that Israel does not commit war crimes. But when it does, as may be the case here, we must be vigilant in holding responsible those who have participated in them.
· If Israel refrains from investigating possible war crimes and holding the perpetrators responsible, these people may find themselves tried by foreign courts.
· Ending the impunity for war crimes will lead to the prevention of such acts in the future, thus saving human lives on all sides.
· The HCJ itself has called for the establishment of this commission.
The campaign will entail several actions, which we hope you will help us to carry out:
1. A public petition calling on the Government of Israel to establish an independent commission of inquiry. You can see the petition at: http://yeshgvul.org/petition_e.asp
Please read the petition, sign it and pass it along to as many people as possible. Post it to your blogs and ask other organizations to which you belong to post it on their websites.
We plan to present the petition to as many Israeli foreign missions as possible on July 22nd to mark the fifth anniversary of the bombing.
2. A media campaign which will include:
The actions outlined above can not be done effectively without cost. Because we are a volunteer group with very limited financial resources, we turn to you for your financial help in order to ensure that this public campaign will be launched and that the will of the HCJ and the principles of international law are carried out. Simply stated, this campaign will be expensive, and you and those like you who support us and this struggle are the only ones who can make it happen. .
Once again, we wish to thank you for your years of financial and action-based support, in both financial and in supportive actions. We are always heartened to discover anew that we have a large community of supporters and partners, without whom we would be unable to carry out our activities and achieve our goals.
If you wish to help us financially:
Contributions can be sent to our address or
via the Refuser Solidarity Network or transferred directly to
our bank account.
You can also donate through RSN on-line by
selecting “Yesh Gvul Projects.”