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Resource: How the Shin Bet holds Gazans' health ransom

A 2008 report by Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, detailing for the first time the methods Israel’s domestic security services use to exploit the medical needs of Gaza Strip residents in order to extort them into becoming collaborators for Israel.

In September 2014, dozens of Israeli army intelligence reservists publicly spoke out about the way that they were trained and ordered to conduct surveillance on innocent Palestinians to find ways of extorting them into becoming informants. Such information included innocent Palestinians’ sexual orientation, which the Shin Bet could threaten to expose, or health problems — their own or of a family member.

The practice of leveraging Gazans’ access to health care in order to get intelligence information out of them has been documented in the past. Six years earlier, in 2008, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) put out a detailed report on the practice, including testimonies from Palestinians whom the Shin Bet demanded information from in exchange for permission to enter Israel to receive needed medical care.

Following the Unit 8200 reservists’ letter, PHR-I responded that soldiers’ testimonies corroborate the testimonies it collected from Gazan patients six years earlier, calling it “direct extortion.” The organization added, “we are encouraged by the fact that these acts also bother those serving in the security forces and we hope that this will bring about a discussion of the matter and an end to this practice.”

+972 is republishing the report here in order to explain in greater detail exactly what the reserve intelligence officers are describing:

More on the 8200 revelations:
Against spy revelations, Israel doth protest too much
IDF’s ‘start-up nation’ reservists refuse to serve the occupation
Refusal by elite IDF reservists angrily dismissed as ‘political’

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that strives to promote a more fair and inclusive society in which the right to health is applied equally for all. It is PHR-Israel’s view that Israel’s prolonged occupation over Palestinian territory is the basis of human rights violations. For this reason it opposes the occupation and endeavor to put an end to it.

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    1. bor

      Aside from the fact that just in the past two years a terrorist from Gaza was treated in Israel as were important family members of Hamas leaders, and aside from the factthat the two wars since that report prove how dangerous Gaza is to Israelis, what government on this planet would allow people from a hostile territory to enter without questioning them?

      Also, this article claims that Israel is still occupying Gaza. It would be wiser to avoid lies so that the rest of the article might be taken seriously.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        The word “occupation” (and variations) is nowhere to be found in the meat of the article, or in the attached report.

        “It is PHR-Israel’s view that Israel’s prolonged OCCUPATION over Palestinian territory…”

        If this is what you were referring to, it does not necessarily refer to Gaza.

        Reply to Comment
        • bor

          Page 6, Introduction, refers to Israel as the “Occupying Power” of Gaza.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Richard

      I’m curious – were any of the Palestinians asked to provide intel in exchange for healthcare individuals who had already been approved to receive care in Israel? If not, its hard to classify what’s going on here as “exertion,” however distasteful. Extortion would mean threatening to take aware healthcare UNLESS intel was provided. Offering healthcare in exchange for healthcare is a cynical an nasty thing to do, but the alternative is no healthcare, no? What’s worse?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        You’ve adopted the thought process of the bully. To a bully, the fact that they hold power or necessities over the heads of the “little people” gives them the right to determine what is “fair” for them.

        If there’s one thing I hate more than a “terrorist” (for what that buzzword is worth), it’s a bully who has deluded himself into thinking that he is not a bully.

        Reply to Comment