Arab MKs: Ruling on targeted killings authorizes 'war crimes'
Court's decision that targeted killing of militants does not violate int'l law gets mixed reaction from MKs.
The High Court of Justice's ruling Thursday on the Israel Defense Forces policy of targeted killings of militants received a mixed reaction from lawmakers, with Arab MKs blasting the decision as "authorizing war crimes."
The court ruled that targeted killings do not categorically violate international law, and must therefore by evaluated on an individual basis. (Read the summary of the judgement)
"The High Court has given its authorization to extrajudicial executions and war crimes," said National Democratic Assembly MK Jamal Zahalka.
"The issue must be transferred to the international courts," continued Zahalka. "The matter is not an internal Israeli one, but rather must be dealt with within an international framework."
MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) said in response that, "This is the continuation of the High Court's security-oriented stance, which since 1967 has authorized expropriation, expulsion, uprootings, and assassinations."
Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh also criticized the ruling, saying it "grants false legitimacy to Israeli occupation and crimes, including murder and assassination."
Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On said: "It is unfortunate that the High Court did not absolutely forbid the use of assassinations on the basis that they are extrajudicial executions, but it is nonetheless positive that the court placed limitations and reservations on the use of force."
"Our experience has proven that it does not make sense for each case to be evaluated individually, because the IDF long ago stopped assassinating solely ticking bombs and turned the targeted killing policy into a policy of fighting terror with terror," continued Gal-On.
Likud MK Yuval Steinitz welcomed the decision, saying the High Court has "returned to its senses" and recognizes that "the obligation of the state to defend its citizens takes precedence over all other obligations, including obligations to the citizens of the enemy state or the Palestinian Authority."
Nonetheless, Steinitz said he believes the time has come for the Knesset to enact legislation limiting the authority of the High Court to intervene in matters of war and peace, immigration and terror.
MK Effi Eitam (National Union-National Religious Party) said: "In the era of terror that sees the civilian population as a target, the targeted killing is an efficient and moral operational tool, which allows states to defend themselves against those who wish to wreak destruction and death."
National Union-NRP MK Zvi Hendel said the court has "once again shot the state in the foot."
"In addition to the emotional beating a soldier endures prior to carrying out a targeted killing, he will now know that he is exposed to legal proceedings and may be serve jail time," said Hendel.
MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-NRP) said it is "surprising that Barak did not make a significant contribution to the terrorist organizations today, but at the same time the state should breathe a big sigh of relief now that he is finally going home."