Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (72)

Seán Crowe


72. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an Israeli soldier (details supplied) convicted of manslaughter for killing an injured Palestinian was freed from prison on 8 May 2018; and his views on whether the original 18-month sentence was not appropriate and their early release demonstrates that there is immunity for Israeli soldiers who extrajudicially kill Palestinian civilians. [21082/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In the case referred to, I am aware there was considerable pressure from within the Israeli political system against this soldier being tried at all, so it was significant that he was tried, convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. The apparent disparity between the sentence passed, and the sentences regularly imposed on Palestinians for much less serious actions, has been widely commented upon.

I do not wish to comment further on this specific case, or the appropriateness of the sentence. I did not hear the trial and cannot assess the evidence, and nor is that my role. I will say that this case, and others, do raise serious questions about the unequal treatment of Israelis and Palestinians under the law. This includes the different laws applicable to Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, the differing protections available to defendants, and the punishments imposed.

I have stated regularly, including to the Israeli authorities, that Palestinians living under Israeli control should enjoy all the same protections under the law as Israel considers appropriate to its own citizens. It is clear that this is not currently the case. In particular, over many years, scrutiny of cases where deadly force is used against Palestinians has progressively diminished, and this is a matter of the most serious concern.

Question No. 73 answered with Question No. 47.