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Soldiers seldom punished for attacks on palestinians report

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An Israeli rights group says only six percent of probes into offences allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank yield indictments.

The report came as the armed forces vowed to investigate the death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly shot by Israeli troops during a protest yesterday against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank.

The Yesh Din human rights group says Of a total of 1,246 investigations by the military police into suspected offences against Palestinians or Palestinian property between 2000 and 2007, only 76 ended in indictments.

A total of 132 people were charged, of whom 110 were found guilty of various offences, four were acquitted, eight indictments were annulled and the trials of 10 others are still under way.

Yesh Din legal advisor Michael Sfadi added that "The figures on the low number of investigations and the minute number of indictments filed reveal that the army is shirking its duty to protect the civilian Palestinian population from offences committed by its soldiers".

According to figures provided to Yesh Din by the army, only a few of the investigations followed complaints from within army ranks.

Sfadi says "The minute number of indictments launched following reports by commanders to military police brings to light the army’s conspiracy of silence over offences against Palestinians."