As they marked Human Rights Day in Tel Aviv on the same weekend that a demonstrator from the village of Nabi Saleh died, it would be best to commemorate this day in Israel as a memorial of human rights.

Even if an investigation into the circumstances of Mustafa Tamimi's death is required, it is impossible to ignore the photographs which show that he was shot in the head at close range. Tamimi is part of a growing list of Palestinians, more than 20, who were killed by the IDF during demonstrations in the territories, and where no one is called to answer for these deaths.

A Haaretz probe revealed the shortcomings of police conduct in the Judea and Samaria District, exposing the fact that there are no serious investigations taking place when violence is directed against Palestinians.

What we are witnessing is Palestinians being exposed to violence from the army and settlers, and in both cases the majority of the investigations are not carried out as they should be.

The combination of military violence with "private" violence suggests that the Palestinian civilians are being abandoned to violence, directed in many cases against those protesting against the stripping of their land and water resources.

In the case of the killing of the young girl Abir Aramin (hit by a rubber bullet in 2007), the Supreme Court ruled that the handling of the case was flawed and there had not been a proper investigation. However, its conclusions were left as a declaration, which is too little, too late. The case of Aramin, like the case of the killing of the demonstrator Bassem Abu Rahme - for which no one has yet been brought to trial - should serve as a warning. Last April, the military attorney general's office promised the Supreme Court that, henceforth, every case in which a civilian is killed in an IDF operation in the West Bank would immediately be investigated by the Military Police.

Prior to this declared commitment, an investigation only took place if a death occurred during an IDF combat operation. It is therefore necessary to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation which will be different from the negligence that we have seen to date.

Responsibility for the lives of civilians in occupied territories lies, according to international law, in the hands of the occupying state. Moreover, though Israel does not relate to the Palestinians in the territories as its citizens, it also fails to grant them the protection that it is obligated to give occupied civilians.

The author is a professor in the faculty of law at Tel Aviv University.