In American discourse, torture is a dark stain on the country's recent history. In Israel, there is no law against torture and the justification of its use is still mainstream. By Nadeem Shehadeh and Amjad Iraqi The United States Senate this week released its long-awaited report on the CIA’s use of torture during the so-called “War on Terror.” A significant revelation in the report was that the CIA relied upon an Israeli High Court decision on torture and other Israeli policies as legal justifications for its own torture practices. These include the vague concepts of “necessity” and “ticking bombs,” and…Read More... | 42 Comments
Israel Social TV gave a microphone and a camera to Dr. Ishai Menuchin, executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCABI), and asked him to speak about Israel’s obligations under international treaties, its failure to outlaw torture, and its abysmal record of investigating allegations of torture by state agents. Related articles: Legal experts cannot erase Israel's history of torture What the bones remember: Israeli doctors talk torture Knesset extends legislation that facilitates tortureRead More... | 12 Comments
A new Israeli film takes a disturbing look at the torture camps for Eritrean refugees in Sinai, and the Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has devoted herself to exposing the torture victims’ stories and ending their suffering. Related: A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home Testimony: Sudanese refugee details torture by Sinai smugglers What the bones remember: Israeli doctors talk tortureRead More... | 3 Comments
Since 2001 over 850 complaints of torture have been submitted by Palestinians. Not a single criminal investigation has been opened. By Dr. Ishai Menuhin Whenever Israel signs a treaty, international standards require it to come up with creative bypasses and convoluted legal answers for its actions. At the same, the Israeli government finds it difficult to implement the commitments it has taken upon itself in our name. This is because both the General Security Service (GSS) and the broader Israeli security establishment are interested in violating the human rights of those they interrogate, rather than observe international standards and rules.…Read More... | 68 Comments
In 1987, Mukhlas Burgal was sentenced to life in prison for throwing a bomb that failed to detonate at a bus full of Israeli soldiers. Since his release in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, Mukhlas has opened a library, and heads several educational projects in his hometown of Lyd ("Lod" in Hebrew, "Lydda" in English). Three years after his release, he discusses his membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the torturous interrogations of the Shin Bet, his time in prison and his new life. By Rami Younis "Have you heard of 'Iskot' cigarettes? Mukhlas Burgal…Read More...
How can signs of deliberate physical injury be detected years after they were caused? What are the physical and psychological ramifications of torture for its victims? How can we cope with the moral dilemmas raised by treating captives and prisoners? Physicians who attended the first workshop in Israel devoted to locating and treating torture victims share their insights. By Einat Fishbain / 'The Hottest Place in Hell' (www.ha-makom.co.il) This article first appeared in Hebrew here. “I must admit that the issue of torture kind of passed me by,” says Dr. Revital Arbel, a senior gynecologist at a hospital in Jerusalem. “It…Read More... | 12 Comments
It has been five years since President Barack Obama promised to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center - and yet 155 prisoners remain imprisoned under harsh conditions. By Chen Liraz Five years ago yesterday, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The facility has not closed, and as of today, 155 detainees are still imprisoned there. So what's the story? Established in January 2002 following the September 11th attacks, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has become a large holding facility for hundreds of people. Detainees there were captured as part of the notorious "War on…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem is laying the blame on Israel's police for ignoring the systematic abuse and violations of Palestinian minors’ rights during interrogations. The organization has received dozens of complaints by Palestinian residents under the age of 18 who have been beaten and threatened during interrogations in Etzion police station, which is in charge of the Hebron and Bethlehem areas. Many of those minors and their families were afraid or reluctant to press formal charges. According to B’Tselem, some of the events described included torture. Once defendants admit to breaking the law (usually stone throwing), the beating and…Read More... | 9 Comments
With a political process that consistently demands peace without justice, Palestinian children living in the occupied territories have been denied justice at almost every turn. By Brad Parker Israel seldom holds its officials and individual perpetrators accountable for violations of Palestinian human rights, particularly against children. The resulting impunity grants Israeli forces a license to expand, rather than curb, violations systemic to Israel’s 46-year-old military occupation. Just last week, five-year-old Wadi’a Maswadeh, a Palestinian boy from the West Bank city of Hebron, was detained for nearly two hours after reportedly throwing a stone at a passing Israeli settler car. Notwithstanding…Read More...
Zabib Sultan, an asylum seeker from Eritrea who heads the Eritrean Women's Community Center, shares a shocking testimony about her and other women's experiences on their way to Israel. She gave her testimony during a meeting organized by Amnesty International and the ASAF NGO on May 23, 2013.Read More... | 32 Comments
Findings by a Palestinian human rights group paint a grim picture of imprisonment and torture under both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes. One guest blogger holds that despite the Israeli occupation, these political groups can no longer act with impunity under the guise of liberators. By Talal Alyan “The image before the return of the PLO was the image of the freedom fighter/ Now here is that same freedom fighter (chained with the conditions of his enemies), exercising his direct authority on the ordinary citizen, on the old men, on the students.” - Mourid Barghouti Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces recently…Read More... | 18 Comments
It is clear that through its decision to leave the asylum seeker in custody, the court refused to recognized his particular situation. Thus, it rejected the possibility that will forever remain open before us: the possibility - which is both an obligation and a right -- to discover compassion. By Asaf Weitzen Judge Eliyahu Beitan of the Be'er Sheva District Court recently handed down a decision on an appeal filed by Raya Meiler of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ordering the continued detainment of an Eritrean asylum seeker, despite him being recognized as a victim of severe torture. Among the explanations…Read More... | 9 Comments
"Revenge of the agonized killers" would have been a more appropriate title. Sometime in the late 1960s, Israeli cinema stopped producing heroic war stories – the kind of action or drama movies where the protagonist serves his country, noble against a powerful and cruel enemy. The quantity of other such works of fiction – in literature, for example – dropped as well. Which, when you think about it, is kind of weird for a country that has a war every few years and needs to reinforce its own ethos. Instead, Israeli popular culture started producing a different genre – that…Read More... | 39 Comments
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