Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Israeli army 'lenient on abuse'

Israeli soldier pointing gun towards Palestinians
The Israeli military has criticised the report as misleading

Israeli soldiers have been charged in just 6% of all inquiries into suspected offences against Palestinians between 2001-2007, a human rights group says.

The Yesh Din group found only 78 out of 1,246 army investigations since the start of the second Palestinian uprising had actually led to charges.

Five soldiers, it says, were convicted of unlawful killings despite some 2,000 Palestinian civilian deaths.

The army said it was misleading to draw conclusions from the report.

"It is not possible to derive any sort of ethical conclusions about the attitude of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] to illegal behaviour by soldiers from a statistical analysis," it said in a statement.

'Regular pattern'

According to the report, 135 soldiers and officers were charged with offences against Palestinian civilians and their property and most were convicted.

However, it says there was a "sizeable gap between the level of maximum punishment set forth by Israeli law for the offences of which the soldiers were convicted and the sentences they were actually granted".

The report criticised what it called a "regular pattern" of failure to bring perpetrators to justice.

"To me, it means that the Israeli military is not doing enough to protect Palestinian civilians from criminal actions by its own soldiers," Lior Yavne of Yesh Din was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

The military took issue with the report, saying it had not been provided with an advance copy to study.

It said more soldiers were reporting cases of suspected abuse because of an improved training programme and that the army "worked tirelessly" to maintain ethical standards.

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Taipei Times Online Israeli army not acting on ethical problems: activists - 17 hrs ago
Haaretz Rights group: Only 6% of abuse claims against IDF yield charges - 26 hrs ago
Jerusalem Post IDF dismisses human rights group report - 27 hrs ago
Haaretz Study: Only 6% of abuse claims against IDF lead to charges - 29 hrs ago
Jerusalem Post Yesh Din slams soldier conviction rate - 31 hrs ago

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