Four Corners – The ECAJ has its say

February 11, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

Robert Goot, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, has commented on the ABC-TV/The Australian report on the justice system   in use in the West Bank which uses Israeli law courts for Israeli children and military law for Palestinian children…

Robert Goot

Robert Goot

Goot’s statement: “The ‘4 Corners’ program highlighted a number of disturbing issues, which the Israeli government appears clearly to treat seriously. Israel has publicly committed itself to changing the way it deals with very young Palestinian minors who are caught throwing rocks and engaging in other potentially dangerous actions, often encouraged by their elders.

“However the program paid insufficient attention to the very real difficulties faced by those who have the job of maintaining law and order and to the suffering on both sides. The situation is obviously very difficult, and as the Israeli government has publicly acknowledged – problematic with room for improvement. However, it is important to bear in mind a number of important issues, including:

“First, it is international law, not religious claims, nor discrimination, that requires Israel to treat Palestinian minors in the West Bank in accordance with the legal system in place there for non Israeli residents. Extending Israeli law to those non Israeli residents of the West Bank, would almost certainly be condemned as tantamount to annexation and therefore a violation of international law. That, of course, does not excuse what Yigal Palmor described as ‘intolerable cases’.

“Second, as the program acknowledged, stone-throwing is potentially lethal and frequently results in grave injuries. As the mother of Israeli toddler, Adele Biton said – ‘stones kill’.

“Third, as UNICEF’s most recent (October 2013) report noted, Israel has co-operated with UNICEF and has made significant improvements.  Indeed Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has said: ‘Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect’.”

“The issues highlighted by the program illustrate the urgent need for the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to bear fruit and for the leaders on both sides to have the courage to make the hard compromises necessary to achieve a comprehensive peace.”