High Court: Targeted killing permissible

Petitioners claim State of Israel has no right to take human life, asks judges to prohibit IDF’s ‘assassination policy.’ Court rejects petition, rules ‘it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is prohibited according to customary international law, just as it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is permissible according to customary international law’
Aviram Zino

High Court Judges, headed by retiring Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, on Thursday morning rejected the petition to prohibit the Israel Defense Forces’ targeted killing policy.

The ruling established that restrictions and limitations must be put on the policy, such that each instance will be thoroughly examined.

In its justification of the ruling, the court wrote that “it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is prohibited according to customary international law, just as it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is permissible according to customary international law.”

Justice Barak wrote in the ruling that “at times democracy fights with one hand tied behind her back. Despite that, democracy has the upper hand, since preserving the rule of law and recognition of individual liberties constitute an important component of her security stance. At the end of the day, they strengthen her and her spirit, and allow her to overcome her difficulties. ”

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish added, “I also believe that it cannot be said in an all-embracing way that using targeted killing is forbidden.”

Beinish put a condition on her opinion, and established that “in light of the extreme nature of target killing, it must not be used in accordance with the limitations and restrictions delineated in the ruling.”

About a month ago, hundreds of intellectuals, Nobel Prize laureates, former generals, left-wing and human rights organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that it rule as soon as possible on a petition dealing with the targeted killings and not allow any “additional fudging,” according to them.

The last and final hearing on the petition was held in February.

“We cannot wait anymore. Any additional delay causes the deaths of more innocent people,” the left-wing organizations claimed following last month’s Beit Hanoun incident.