22 Aug 12
Recent video of an Israeli soldier kicking a small Palestinian child is a continuing reminder that, behind its smiling mask, Israel has a sordid record of brutally torturing Palestinian men, women, and even children so unfortunate as to be in Israeli prisons. In this detailed, impeccably documented report from Aug. 29, 2007, I show you what really happens behind Israel's prison walls.
Since at least 1967, the government of Israel has vehemently denied that it uses torture, and Israel signed the 1987 Landau Agreement banning most forms of torture. 1 But in 1995 a secret government report (not released until 2000) admitted Israel does torture.2 In 1999 Israel 's Supreme Court ruled that torture can be employed as a "necessity" in exceptional cases when officers have reason to believe they can prevent a crime. This has created a loophole, exempting interrogators/torturers from punishment as long as they claim they tortured in the national interest. 3
- Tying up detainees in painful positions for hours or days.
- Containment in tiny cramped spaces (for days, prisoners have been stuffed in boxes about 2 feet square and 5 feet high, often with spiked floors).
- Prolonged beatings.
- Enclosing the detainee's head in a sack (often soaked with urine and feces).
- Violent “shaking” (Physicians for Human Rights says this has caused brain damage, even death). 5
- Bending body in extremely painful positions.
- Prolonged exposure to extreme cold or heat.
- Sexual, verbal, and psychological abuse.
- Threats against the individual’s life or family members’ lives.
- Playing extremely loud music.
- Choking and pulling out hair (prisoners have been forced to swallow hair).
- Intentional tightening of handcuffs (According to Amnesty International, the handcuffs used by the Israeli Security forces are in themselves a form of torture, “…the plastic handcuffs tighten on the detainee's wrist, causing intense pain; former detainees describe their wrists becoming blue as a result of their tightening and adult men screaming with pain as they begged to be taken off.”
- Putting head of prisoner in toilet bowl. 6
- hung by their wrists for long periods.
- beaten extensively, over periods of days and months.
- struck in the genitals, and testicles twisted, squeezed, and crushed; testicles compressed around an iron ball placed between them.
- sexually abused - sometimes through “anal assaults,” including homosexual rape and pushing of bottles up rectums.
- attacked by dogs.
- beaten on soles of feet.
- hosed with icy water, forced to sit in blazing sun for hours.
- penetrated in the penis with a ballpoint pen; metal rods up urethra, rupturing it.
- exposed, blindfolded, to the wrath of a raging public, pelted with rocks and bottles at Israeli football games.
- forced to drink urine and allow soldiers to urinate in their mouth.
- forced to grasp barbed wire and endure electric shock, having electrodes attached to various parts of the body and enduring shocks so powerful they lift the victim off the ground; forced to stand in electrically charged water.
- hung in crucified position for up to four days in the scorching sun.
- hung by feet and used as punching bags for boxers.
- forced to sit for up to a week with hands over head.
- forced to “run the gauntlet” of beatings by 8 to 10 soldiers.
- laid on the floor and jumped on by guards.
- dragged by rope around neck.
- beaten and tortured in front of family members, commanded to rape their daughters.
- crushed under bulldozers.
- blindfolded and hung from helicopter.
- their teeth torn out with pliers; false teeth were smashed.
- shards of glass pushed deeply into nostrils.
- a tube pushed up nose with salt water forced into stomach; batons were jammed in mouth, rupturing throat.
- ribs, bones, and teeth deliberately broken.
…the pattern of torture repeated by the Sunday Times is similar to that found in the hundreds of testimonies published by Israeli lawyers, Felicia Langer and Lea Tsemel, by Palestinian lawyer Walid Fahoum, as the accounts we have heard from former prisoners.
…this pattern is documented in the West Bank as early as 1968, one year after the occupation began. Although the International Red Cross does not make public declarations, it had prepared in 1968 a finding of torture. Its “Report on the Nablus Prison” concludes:
“A number of detainees have undergone torture during interrogation by the military police. According to the evidence, the torture took the following forms:
1. Suspension of the detainees by the hands and the simultaneous traction of his other members for hours at a time until he loses consciousness.
2. Burns with cigarette stubs.
3. Blows with rods on the genitals.
4. Tying up and blindfolding for days.
5. Bites by dogs.
6. Electric shocks at the temples, the mouth, the chest and testicles.” 10
One such prisoner, Rasmiya Odeh, says: “The first time they stripped me and threw me on the floor, the room was full of men -- civilians and soldiers. They laughed at my nakedness and kicked me, beat me with sticks, punched me all over, especially on the breasts; my body was covered with bruises. Then they got a wooden stick, not a smooth one, and pushed it into me to break the hymen. They brought my father and fiancé to see me. I lost consciousness…
One time, an interrogator, Abu-Hani, sat me on a chair and sat himself opposite. He put his legs on the chair on either side of me and boxed me on the ears until I couldn’t hear anymore and brought in my father and told him to strip and make love to me. “She isn’t your daughter, she’s your wife, go on, sleep with her.” My father screamed and they beat him till he lost consciousness. Blood was pouring from my mouth and nose and I couldn’t hear anymore. They dragged him unconscious from the room. Another time, they stripped me and took me to a room where men were suspended from the ceiling. They handcuffed me to the hooks in the ceiling -- it was a pulley system which could be raised and lowered- and then chained my feet to the ground, wide apart, and raised me so only the tips of my toes touched the ground. They said they had been going to rape me, but I was too dirty for them and they would instead get some prisoners who hadn’t seen a woman for a long time." 11
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on this subject. Call (503) 631-3808.
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