The IDF legal division’s decision to clear Lt.-Col. Neria Yeshurun of criminal charges of illegally ordering the revenge shelling of a pharmacy in Gaza during the 2014 war, without having filed an indictment, puts Israel on thin ice with the International Criminal Court.
Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek decided to clear Yeshurun late Tuesday, despite his being recorded in July 2014 telling his soldiers on the radio that they were shelling the pharmacy (or residential building, according to recent information received byThe Jerusalem Post) as revenge for the killing of one of their comrades the day before.
That is no easy decision to explain to the world.
Afek said that Yeshurun’s actions were unethical and censured him, but that available evidence did not meet the high standard for filing a criminal case.
In January 2015 ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary probe of alleged war crimes in the 2014 Gaza conflict in which 73 Israelis and around 2,000 Palestinians were killed (50-80 percent civilians) and may still decide to launch a full criminal investigation.
Such a probe could have massive negative legal and diplomatic consequences for Israel.