Washington Babylon — October 12, 2009, 11:30 am

Israeli Justice: Better never than late

From Associated Press:

The Israeli military takes months to investigate whether its soldiers committed crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank, deliberately trying to dim chances of any prosecution, an Israeli human rights group claimed Monday. The group, Yesh Din, released a report offering its analysis of more than 130 cases of alleged soldier violence against Palestinians living in the West Bank.

The cases stem from complaints filed by Palestinians in response to alleged offenses committed by Israeli soldiers and officers. Over two years have passed since some of the claims were filed, the report stated. The claims are separate from allegations of war crimes swarming around Israel’s January offensive in Gaza.

While some of the West Bank claims have moved forward, no decision has been made whether to prosecute or drop as many as 76 cases. They have been pending from six months to more than a year and in some, the investigation is still at starting point, according to Yesh Din.

In one case — the killing of a 17-year-old boy near Bethlehem — the military has yet to decide whether to launch a criminal investigation, Yesh Din said.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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