Whitewashing and absurd punishment are not exceptions.They are policy.
When Israeli Border Police killed Palestinian Iyad al-Halaq in East Jerusalem on 30 May 2020, the incident quickly garnered unusual attention – by Israeli standards – since there can simply be no justification for lethally shooting a disabled person just walking down the street. Israel knows it is supposed to open investigations into such killings, and the authorities swiftly promised one.
Yet experience shows this is merely a fig leaf to silence criticism until the public outrage and media attention die down. Meanwhile, the investigation system works behind the scenes to whitewash the violence and ensure impunity for those responsible. Only in exceptional cases are Israeli soldiers or police officers held accountable for killing Palestinians.
Even then, they are convicted of minor offenses and given ludicrous sentences. Over the years, the Israeli law enforcement system has perfected an outward show of accountability while in fact protecting all those involved: the forces on the ground, the senior command, the politicians and the legal system that backs them.