Thursday, December 18, 2014

Torture in Israeli Prisonss

Torture in Israeli Prisons

by Stephen Lendman

Washington and Israel replicate each other's worst crimes. A previous article discussed a UN Committee Against Torture report.

Citing grave US civil and human rights abuses. Including systematic use of torture. Senate Intelligence Committee members confirmed it. In highly redacted form.

Constituting appalling breaches of fundamental rule of law principles. At home and abroad. In US prisons. Global black sites. Out of sight and mind.

Israel operates the same way. Brutalizing Palestinians horrifically. The Middle East Monitor discussed a UN report. Covering around 200 torture methods.

B'Tselem lists around half this number. Including against children. Torture and other forms of abuse reflect the worst of occupation harshness.

Palestinians want them ended. On Wednesday, PLO officials submitted draft Security Council text language. Jointly with Jordan Detailing terms for peace.

Setting a 12-month deadline. December 2017 for ending Israel's occupation. Saying they're open to negotiations on text language.

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour thanking Arab and European nations for helping. Indicating he won't press for a quick SC vote.

To allow more time for discussion. An attempt to placate Washington. Enlist its support. Futile without Israeli acquiescence. Not forthcoming under any circumstances.

Netanyahu remains hardline. So do likeminded ministers and MKs. Opposing Palestinian statehood. Intending permanent occupation. 

Virtually certain of US support. Like dozens of previous times. Washington's veto power has final say.

Mansour remains hopeful. Saying "(W)e will continue negotiating with all of them and with the Americans if they are ready and willing so that we perhaps can succeed in having something adopted by the Security Council to open a serious door to peace."

The PLO resolution calls for a "just, lasting and comprehensive peace solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation…"

"(F)ulfill(ing) the vision" of a Palestinian state. With Jerusalem its shared capital. A major climbdown from East Jerusalem exclusively.

Final settlement reached no later than 12 months after resolution passage. Including Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestine over a period "not to exceed the end of 2017."

Initially PLO officials wanted occupation ending in two years. Now  three. Categorically rejected by Israel and Washington.

Both countries wanting all issues settled through direct negotiations. Not UN resolutions. Except in language Israel accepts.

Kerry saying resolutions are OK if don't exacerbate regional tensions.

"We don't have any problem with them filing some resolution, providing it's done in the spirit of working with people to see how we could proceed forward in a thoughtful way that solves the problem, doesn't make it worse," he maintains.

Code language for whatever Israel wants it gets. Palestinian rights don't matter. Business as usual won't change.

On December 17, Mondoweiss said Washington drafted an "alternative offer to the Palestinian pursuit of a draft resolution to negotiate an end to Israel's occupation…" 

According to a French diplomat. PLO officials got no information. Unaware of what Washington has in mind.

One senior official saying he thinks "what the Americans are trying to do is delay any initiative until" after Israeli elections. 

In March. Perhaps under a new coalition government. Maybe more hardline than now. 

For sure not agreeable to ending occupation. Or accepting Palestinian self-determination. Like all previous Israeli governments. Since mid-1967.

Mondoweiss cited France calling Washington's proposal a railroading tactic.

Pressuring France to withdraw support. Acting as an Israeli/Palestinian mediator. Confused by Palestinian actions, said the French diplomat.

No idea what they're doing. As of yesterday, France hasn't seen final text language.

Palestinians are working jointly with Jordan. Not France on their behalf.

For its part, France wants all contentious issues resolved before tabling a resolution.

Initially two drafts circulated. A French one with 
European partners. An Arab League supported Jordanian/Palestinian one.

According to Mondoweiss:

"The principal differences between the drafts were that the Palestinians wanted to include language on ending Israel's occupation within a two-year period, while the French wanted to re-establish negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis." 

"Both entail previous international accords such as United Nations resolution 242 and 181, a removal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in June 1967, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees based on return and compensation, respectively."

Other provisions include freezing settlement construction immediately. Refraining from "any illegal activities."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he "reaffirmed France's commitment to an initiative in the UN Security Council encompassing parameters as well as a timetable for these negotiations."

"I also mentioned the need to renew the framework of these discussions in order to promote the involvement of all international partners willing to contribute to this settlement." 

"France is convinced that it is high time to act for peace in a concrete manner."

What more compelling argument for statehood. Free from Israeli torture. Other forms of occupation harshness. Israel no longer having say over Palestinian lives.

B'Tselem calls "(t)he right of every person not to be subjected to ill-treatment or torture (whether physical or mental) one of the few human rights… considered absolute."

Never "balanced against other rights and values. (N)or suspended or limited." No matter what situation is faced.

This right is binding under international law. With no allowed exceptions.

The Middle East Monitor reported "(h)undreds of torture methods used against Palestinian prisoners during interrogations…"

Conducted in Israeli prisons. "(O)bserved by human rights organisations and prisoners' rights associations."

According to Ahrar Center for Prisoners' Studies and Human Rights direcor Fouad Khuffash, torture includes physical and psychological methods. Each leaves permanent scars.

"Torture in Israeli prisons is systematic and starts from the moment a prisoner is arrested, not from the moment they begin interrogation," said Khuffash. 

"This is a premeditated and staged scenario that changes according to the case of the detainee and the nature of their file." 

"Investigators alternate and play various roles assigned in advance to each investigator."

University of Jerusalem's Abu Jihad Center for Prisoner Affairs director Fahd Abu Al-Hajj notes 73 "most popular Israeli interrogation torture techniques."

Demonstrating occupation barbarism. omplete disregard for core human rights laws and standards.

"Nothing evidences this more than the repeated death of prisoners under interrogation, the most recent of which was the death of the prisoner Raed Al-Jabari," said Al-Hajj.

No Palestinian prisoner is spared. Young children treated like adults. Brutalized viciously.

Including injury-producing severe beatings. Prisoners doused with very cold, then very hot water.

Cuffing or restraining detainees painfully. Arms behind their backs. Tying them painfully to a door or window. For long periods of time. Lasting hours.

Beaten with sticks until lose consciousness. Targeting sensitive body areas. Potentially causing longterm negative effects. At times, leading to chronic illnesses and diseases.

A UN human rights committee said Israel "cross(ed) the line." Its brutal methods include "breaking backs, pulling fingers apart and twisting testicles."

In recent years, psychological torture increasingly used. Vicious tactics leaving permanent scars.

Mohammed Kilani was isolated in solitary confinement. Chained to a chair. For over two months. Harshest form of torture he endured, he said.

Israel uses virtually every form of physical and psychological torture ever conceived. Leaving a terrible toll on victims. Many traumatized longterm. Some permanently.

Since 1967, around six dozen Palestinians died from Israeli torture. Out of a total 200 perishing behind bars. Most for lack of proper healthcare. Combined with appalling treatment.

It bears repeating. What more compelling argument for statehood. Free from Israeli torture. Other forms of occupation harshness. 

Ending Israel's say over Palestinian lives. Free ftom decades of intolerable repression.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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