File photo of IDF soldiers (Photo: Israel Defense Forces - Twitter)

The Israeli Attorney General, Gali-Baharev Miara warned Sunday morning of a bill that is meant to give impunity to IDF soldiers and commanders, claiming it could turn Israel Defense Forces members into war criminals. Based on her statements, the coalition decided that the discussion of it in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation would be postponed by a month. The proposal was by Knesset Member (MK) Zvika Fogel of Otzma Yehudit, a high-ranking retired IDF officer.

According to the AG, MK Fogel's bill could result in international legal and human rights institutions suing Israel easily. Therefore, in order to maintain Israel's political and legal status, and against the background of a warning she issued to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the coalition decided to postpone the discussion of it for one month. Based on comments from some far-right lawmakers, the postponement comes perhaps with the expectation that Baharev Miara will be replaced with someone who has a different opinion.

"Over the years, various mechanisms have been developed in the State of Israel that are designed to balance the challenges that characterize the operational activity and the importance of the duty to investigate cases of illegal or improper use of force by the security forces," reads the opinion on behalf of the Attorney General, which is signed by three of her advisors, Amit Marari, Gil Limon, and Gil-ad Noam.

"Immunity, as proposed fundamentally, changes the point of balance, and thereby results in a violation of human rights and other essential interests. This bill is not the appropriate tool for safeguarding these important interests, and it deviates from the position of the Israeli government.

The Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir responded to Miara, claiming she is pretending to be the Prime Minister. "She actually wants to be prime minister. Here, I was informed through the media, not even in an orderly way, through the headline on Yedioth Ahronoth, that she opposes the law on immunity for soldiers, along with everything we propose. With all due respect, she is not the only jurist in Israel, and some, not any less professional than her, think Otherwise."

According to MK Fogel's bill, immunity will be granted to soldiers and commanders who were involved in operational events. However, it does not include immunity when suspected of theft, looting, destruction of equipment, taking bribes, abuse, humiliation, and violence against uninvolved bystanders. Immunity can be removed by a committee appointed by the Minister of Defense and its role will be to examine the removal of immunity in cases where there is a suspicion that a member of the security forces acted in bad faith or with malice.

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