Latest Publication Lacks Credibility, has Major Methodological Flaws

JERUSALEM – In its ongoing promotion of false “war crimes” allegations against Israeli officials, Yesh Din today released another publication alleging the failure of the IDF’s Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) and Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAGC). The report is meant to discredit this component of the Israeli judicial system, reiterating the justification cited in lawfare cases brought against Israeli officials in European courts and the International Criminal Court, says Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

“The report is filled with basic methodological flaws – from the grossly distorted presentation of the data to an incorrect interpretation of the legal process during armed conflict,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Yesh Din argues that if an indictment was not filed following an investigation, then a proper investigation did not occur. This is absolutely absurd. In Yesh Din’s imaginary world there is no possibility that Israel carried out an entirely thorough and proper investigation, and then reached this conclusion. Additionally, the report is littered with editorial comments on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which demonstrates the underlying purpose of the invented analysis.”

The report claims “[o]nly 3.5% of the complaints received by MPCID and MAGC regarding alleged criminal offenses committed by soldiers against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank result in indictments.”

Steinberg adds,“Based on these pseudo-statistics, it is entirely possible that Yesh Din and allies simply convince Palestinians to file numerous frivolous complaints.”

NGO Monitor notes that the European Union is a major funder of Yesh Din and of this specific publication. The EU grant designates the project’s objectives: “To change Israeli policy vis-a-vis criminal accountability of Israeli Security Forces Personnel in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in such a way that acknowledges and takes into account the severity and the different nature of War Crimes, as distinguished from regular, domestic crimes” (emphasis added).

“The European Union has again enabled an NGO to produce a publication that will be used as a building block for future lawfare cases against Israeli officials,” Steinberg adds.  “This report will be cited widely by NGOs and affiliates in international arenas as they link Israelis with bogus war crimes claims. This has nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel and its judicial mechanisms.”

NGO Monitor’s report reveals Yesh Din’s standard practice of using unsupported claims of discrimination in MPCID procedures. Reflecting the ideological premise, Yesh Din asserts: It is difficult not to feel that, if the victims came from another social group, one that has greater power and status in Israeli society, the pressure on the IDF to conclude investigations within a more reasonable length of time would bear fruit.

“Yesh Din makes this dubious claim without comparing their data to other Israeli investigatory bodies,” adds Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor legal advisor. “The report also fails to present comprehensive data, highlighting the absence of any comparative approach. Yesh Din’s argument that the MAGC and MPCID treat Palestinians differently remains completely unproven due to the omission of this data.”

Herzberg adds that Yesh Din’s data also is “presented without any comparison to military or civilian justice systems in other countries – this data of course could seriously refute Yesh Din’s claim of failure by the MPCID, so it is not given.”