From approving brutal interrogation techniques to writing false medical reports, doctors in Israel have taken an active role in the torture of Palestinian prisoners. By Ruchama Marton If the Shin Bet runs a school for its agents and interrogators, the curriculum most certainly includes a class on how to tell a lie. The texts taught, it seems, do not change with the years. In 1993, responding to accusations that the Shin Bet brutally tortured Palestinian detainee Hassan Zubeidi, then Commander of the IDF Northern Command Yossi Peled told Israeli journalist Gabi Nitzan that “there is no torture in Israel. I served for…Read More... | 22 Comments
Nearly 20 years after it banned torture, Israel's High Court is finding new ways to justify using physical force in the interrogation of security suspects. Israel’s High Court of Justice last week ruled that Israeli authorities’ torture of a Hamas suspect was not illegal and that the Shin Bet interrogators do not need to be prosecuted. The ruling also broadened and effectively removed the strict limitations imposed by a landmark decision by the same court nearly two decades ago, which carved out a “ticking bomb” exception to the prohibition on torture. [tmwinpost] “The ruling shows that in the eyes of the High Court,…Read More... | 4 Comments
A new report by Human Rights Watch documents dozens of cases whereby the Palestinian authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza use arbitrary arrest and torture to repress critics. A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation published Tuesday draws on 86 cases of arbitrary arrest, abuse, and torture by Fatah and Hamas authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to call for an International Criminal Court probe, as well as a suspension of aid to Palestinian security forces. According to the report, acts of repression by the two Palestinian authorities against Palestinians engaged in peaceful speech and nonviolent protest “may amount to…Read More... | 2 Comments
Both left and right-wingers hailed a decision by an Israeli court to throw out parts of confessions provided by two Israelis suspected of a murdering a Palestinian family because they were obtained through torture. The shared satisfaction across political camps is rare. It is also flawed and worrying. Both left-wing and right-wing voices lauded an Israeli court on Tuesday for throwing out parts of the confessions provided by two Israeli Jews suspected of a lethal terror attack against a Palestinian family, because they were obtained through torture. In the middle of the night in August 2015, attackers set fire to the Dawabshe…Read More...
On the occasion of her 80th birthday, Ruchama Marton, the founder of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, talks about the atrocities she witnessed as a soldier, the enduring power of feminism, and why only outside help has a chance of ending Israel's military rule over the Palestinians. By Alon Mizrahi Ruchama Marton belongs to what you might call Generation 1.5 of Israel’s anti-occupation activists. She was slightly too young to belong to the small and avant-garde group that established the revolutionary socialist organization Matzpen in the 1960s, but old enough to have taken classes with firebrand Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz in Jerusalem. There, while…Read More... | 16 Comments
For five decades, the High Court has legitimized nearly every aspect of the occupation. It may take time, but one day the settlers will thank the court for 50 years of Israeli rule over the West Bank. We should be enraged at the Israeli Right's attempt to ban left-wing NGOs from filing High Court petitions on behalf of Palestinians. There is no doubt that the motivation behind the initiative is to allow the occupation to continue undisturbed. There is no doubt that there are Palestinians who benefit from these petitions, just as there are women, residents of Israel's periphery, and other oppressed groups who have…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israeli security authorities view hunger striking Palestinian prisoners as political time-bombs that can undermine the occupation's control. The High Court agrees. In a unanimous decision by a three-justice panel, the Israeli High Court on Sunday approved the legality of the force-feeding law, which was enacted by the Knesset in July 2015. [tmwinpost] The law allows Israeli authorities to forcibly feed hunger striking prisoners against their will if their health condition is deemed to be life-threatening, and if the measure is approved by the attorney general and a District Court judge. The procedure involves transmitting food into the patient’s body, either through the vein,…Read More... | 1 Comment
Three Palestinian teens speak about the abuse they say they endured in Israeli military custody after being arrested during a demonstration along the Gaza border. By Yael Marom Israeli military police are investigating the suspicion that over the course of three days, IDF soldiers abused three Palestinian teenagers who illegally crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip during a protest late last year, according to a Haaretz report earlier this month. [tmwinpost] On October 10, 2015, the three Gazan teenagers were participating in a protest along the border, during which protesters attempted to damage the fence, and threw stones toward…Read More... | 1 Comment
Unless a law to criminalize torture is passed, we cannot begin combatting the view that a human being's body and soul can be abused for punishment or to extract information. By Rachel Stroumsa Representatives of the Israeli Justice Ministry announced last week in Geneva that the ministry is working on a law criminalizing torture in Israel. A day later it became clear that these representatives were unable to address the content of the proposed law. Nor could they even venture a guess as to when it would be completed, despite the fact that the matter has been under debate for several months.…Read More...
An anti-torture law currently being drafted by the Justice Ministry is not enough to fix an entire legal system that allows the practice to be used against an occupied population. During its review session at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva on Wednesday, Israel’s representatives informed the committee that the Justice Ministry is drafting a bill that, for the first time, would explicitly enshrine torture as a crime under Israeli law. This appears to be a very positive development in a years-long battle to end Israel’s use of torture, championed by torture victims, human rights groups, and UN bodies.…Read More... | 2 Comments
Israel's use of torture is part and parcel of the occupation, and an inseparable part of maintaining the military occupation of Palestinian territories and Jewish hegemony in those lands. A new report about torture at the Israeli Shin Bet facility Shikma is, rightfully, making headlines. The details are horrendous. The report, penned by HaMoked and B’Tselem, is also significant because it points to the close collaboration between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — essentially reminding that the former is outsourcing its dirty work to the PA. While the report is new, we shouldn’t forget that torture in Israel is not. Palestinians have long…Read More... | 29 Comments
When the Palestinian Authority does Israel's dirty work, is it any surprise that so many Palestinians no longer differentiate between the two? By Hagar Shezaf As the latest wave of violence erupted, I drove to cover a demonstration in the West Bank city of Al-Bireh, adjacent to Ramallah. During one of my interviews, a 20-year-old man told me he and the rest of the protesters were rising up against the "regime." "Which regime?" we asked. "Both — they are the same thing," he said as he laughed and ran away. The notion that the Palestinian Authority and Israel are one…Read More... | 3 Comments
A new report by B'Tselem and Hamoked includes testimonies of Palestinian detainees who were held in Israel's 'Shikma' interrogation facility. Human Rights organizations “Hamoked — Defence of the Individual” and B’Tselem on Wednesday published a report that draws on affidavits and statements from 116 Palestinians who spent time in the Shin Bet’s (Israel Security Agency) Shikma interrogation facility. The Palestinians, all of whom were “security detainees” — which means they were suspected of political crimes or terrorism-related offenses as opposed to criminal suspicions — spent time at Shikma between August 2013 and March 2014. Some of the testimonies describe Shin…Read More... | 4 Comments
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