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  • ACRI

Open an Investigation Following Documentation of Degrading Behavior of Soldiers in Jenin

On December 21, 2023, we sent legal correspondence (Hebrew) to the Military Advocate General requesting that a comprehensive investigation be opened looking into the activities of the military forces in Jenin during the week of December 10-15, 2023. Extensive documentation circulated on social media networks shows the soldiers' misconduct, the degradation of protected residents, and damage to their property. For example, reservists entered a mosque in Jenin and used the muezzin's equipment to play Hanukkah songs, a Jewish prayer and threats against the residents. In some cases, the forces documented the treatment of detainees:  Soldiers sit at private homes while eating snacks and smoking hookah, facing blindfolded detainees. Detainees are led in a humiliating manner, raising the Israeli flag; and photographing partially nude detainees.

ACRI Attorney Roni Peli noted that the large number of incidents and their severity cast a heavy shadow over the activity of the forces in Jenin. "This conduct of the forces indicates a sense of absolute immunity to criminal behavior, and the lack of fear that any proceedings will be taken against them in response," our correspondence stated. "This is the result of a sweeping and consistent policy of turning a blind eye to unlawful conduct by forces on the ground, which constitutes de facto backing for such conduct [...] The documentation of the violations and their publication by the soldiers themselves on social media indicate that this conduct by the forces was deliberate, intended to humiliate and degrade. But most of all, the publicity and the bragging indicate the full confidence of the forces that they will not be held responsible for such conduct, because they see it as legitimate and will even gain public sympathy from the publicity."

In our correspondence, we asked for a comprehensive examination of the operation in Jenin and for significant measures to be taken against those involved. We sought to examine the conduct of the force commanders and find out why they did not stop the conduct, whether they encouraged it and why they did not report soldiers who acted illegally, and to examine whether the culture among the units that carried out the acts described, encourages the soldiers to commit serial violations of the law. In the serious incidents – deaths, humiliation of detainees, and looting of mosques – they argued that disciplinary action was not enough, that a criminal investigation should be opened and those responsible should be brought to justice.

The military's response  (Hebrew) from March 12, 2024 stated, "Some of the cases described deviate from the professional standards and procedures that require IDF forces to carry out operational activity. Therefore, your request has been forwarded to the command bodies in order for the necessary actions to be taken." However, it was reported that the MAG Corps found that there was no reason to open a Military Police investigation.


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