Stone Cold Justice – NIF Australia has its say

February 11, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Following the broadcast last night of the ABC Four Corners programme “Stone Cold Justice”, Robin Margo S.C., president of NIF Australia, said: “The application of military justice to Palestinian juveniles in the West Bank has long been of concern to Israeli NGOs.  And the Israeli Government, to its credit, accepts that raising such concerns is a proper function of its national human rights organisations.”

Robin Margo

Robin Margo

Margo noted that Israel cooperated in UNICEF’s enquiry, that UNICEF has welcomed improvements over the years in the treatment of Palestinian minors, both in detention and in military legal proceedings, and that Israel undertook to work towards implementing further improvements after the UNICEF report last year.

But he added that more remains to be done and referred to a statement made on 31 December 2013 by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), NIF’s flagship grantee:

“For many years ACRI has worked to defend the rights of Palestinian children within criminal proceedings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – during their detention, arrest, interrogation, trial and imprisonment. Positive changes have been made to the military legislation that touches upon these issues over the last few years, yet there are still serious deficiencies that lead to the serious and systematic violation of the rights of minors in the military legal system.
Israeli children living in Jewish settlements in the West Bank are subjected to Israeli criminal legislation and are tried in civilian courts in Israel. By contrast, Palestinian minors living in the same territory are subjected to harsher military justice. Following an ACRI petition to the High Court of Justice, some of the positive changes that were adopted included the establishment of a Military Juvenile Court, raising the age of maturity from 16 to 18 and shortening detention periods for both Palestinians adults and minors. However a significant disparity still exists between the standard of protections applied to Palestinian minors living in the Occupied Territories and the standards demanded by international law.”

He said more than a dozen Israelis (not all Jewish) have been murdered by stoning or rock throwing, and many more injured, but there is strong concern also that there have been virtually no arrests or convictions of Jewish criminals who direct “price tag” attacks primarily against Palestinians in the West Bank.

“Problems of this kind, and the suffering on both sides, will likely continue as long as one people exercises military rule over another.  People of goodwill should therefore support efforts to assist Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a comprehensive peace.”


2 Responses to “Stone Cold Justice – NIF Australia has its say”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    For a number of very important reasons, luckily NIF is most irrelevant to the Australian Jewish community as well as Israel.

  2. David Singer says:

    NIF Australia Chairman Robin Margo fails to tell readers that its “flagship grantee” ACRI:

    1. filed a petition in December 2009 referring to Road 443 as an “apartheid road.” Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch rebuked ACRI for employing “apartheid” rhetoric saying that “the great difference between the security means adopted by the State of Israel for defense against terrorist attacks and the unacceptable practices of the policy of apartheid requires that any comparison or use of this grave term be avoided.”

    2. employs the terms “apartheid” and “collective punishment” (including in the context of house demolitions), and claims the security barrier is a “clear violation of international law.” When urging Israel, alongside other NGOs, to investigate the war in Gaza, ACRI claimed that Israel should have cooperated with Goldstone’s commission to investigate “violations of basic principles of international law.”

    This dark side of ACRI makes one wonder why New Israel Fund continues to give ACRI financial support that has run into many millions of dollars over the last 5-6 years.

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