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Report: Israeli army misled High Court over assassinations

Nov. 26, 2008 6:38 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 26, 2008 6:38 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli army has been assassinating wanted West Bank Palestinians in spite of the High Court of Justice's guidelines, according to operational briefings obtained by Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and published on Wednesday.

High-level military officials approved assassinations in the West Bank, "even when it could have been possible to arrest the targets instead," according to the Ha'aretz report.

Army officers authorized the killings in advance, "in writing, even if innocent bystanders would be killed as well," the report goes on to say.

The assassinations policy also runs contrary to what the military had been telling the High Court, "as they were subject only to minimal restrictions" prior to a court ruling that demanded otherwise.

Ziad Malaisha, who was killed on 20 June 2007 near Jenin was published in the Israeli newspaper as an example of one such mission. The obtained document, which is a preliminary paper called "Operation Two Towers," details a mission planned by Israeli commander Yair Naveh. Though it insists that "the mission is arest," the document allows for the army to kill any of three Islamic Jihad members.

On 12 April, the same commander approved the killing of just one of the three, as well as "another two people at most."

According to a spokesperson for the Israeli army's office, the plans to kill Islamic Jihad members would only be implemented if arrests failed, but that the "alternative is preferable."
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