Today, the High Court of Justice handed down its decision in case 5757/04 filed by Yesh Gvul, the Public Committee Against torture in Israel (PCATI), writers, poets, intellectuals and pilots. Although the High Court justices rejected the petition, they emphatically expressed their dissatisfaction with the statements made by Halutz concerning the assassination of Salah Shehadeh, during which 16 civilians were killed, half of them children.
Justice Levy stated in relation to this matter that “it would have been best if these statements had not been made, particularly by a senior IDF officer serving as the commander of the Israeli Air Force”.
Justice Naor determined that what was particularly abhorrent and is still is his statement that what he feels when the bomb is released is a slight impact on the plane.
The petitioners are saddened that the petition was rejected but, nevertheless, believe that the petition was an important step in making it clear to both government and military authorities that they cannot act as they please.
The safety of the citizens of Israel is of great importance but cannot be gained at any price and particularly not with the compromise of the principles of justice, morality, and of Israeli and international law. As stated by Justice Levy “The message given to one’s subordinates must include…first and foremost, the supreme importance of the value of life and sensitivity and sorrow on the loss of lives of innocent persons, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians.”
The petitioners will study the Court’s decision in depth over the next few days and consider what their next steps will be. It is our belief that the above ruling is not the last word in the sorry episode of the one-ton bomb.