Israeli Murder by Torture
by Stephen Lendman
Torture is official Israeli policy. It’s longstanding. All Palestinians are fair game. Wanting to live free leaves them vulnerable. More on what demands condemnation below.
Thirty-year old Arafat Jaradat is Israel’s latest victim. PA chief pathologist Saber Aloul attended his autopsy. Marks on his body provided clear evidence. He died from torture.
He was married with two young children. In June, his wife Dalal expects another. She’s on her own to survive.
In early February, Israel lawlessly arrested her husband. Family members confirmed he was in good health at the time. He was taken to Jalameh Detention Center. He was transferred to Megiddo Prison.
Israel tortured him to death. Since 1967, dozens of Palestinians died the same way. They did so in prison. Some succumbed after release. A combination of torture and harsh prison conditions bears full responsibility. It’s standard Israeli practice.
Israel’s Prison Service said Jaradat died from “cardiac arrest.” Its spokeswoman lied. PA minister in charge of prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqaa, said he was killed during interrogation.
“We demand the creation of an international commission of inquiry to probe the circumstances of his death,” he added.
“Our information was that Jaradat was being interrogated and then he died. Therefore we call for an international investigation into his death, that may have resulted from torture.”
Dalal said an Israeli intelligence officer brought Jaradat back home. He did so after his arrest. He told him to bid farewell to his children.
“For that reason I was worried,” she said. “My husband was detained several times before, but this time the officer talked in a bizarre way.”
Attorney Kamil Sabbagh represented Jaradat. He complained of severe pain. He blamed it on harsh interrogation practices. It’s brutal enough to kill. Israel doesn’t care if Palestinians live or die.
B’tselem‘s February 23 press release headlined “Investigation of Palestinian detainee’s death in custody must include full circumstances.”
Examining Jaradat’s interrogation treatment, procedures used, responsible officials, and physicians complicit in torture is essential.
Expect whitewash instead. It happens every time. Killers get of scot-free. So do torturers. They’re emboldened to repeat cruel and inhuman treatment.
In October 2011, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights (PACTI) issued a damning report.
It’s titled “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim: The Involvement of Medical Professionals in Torture and Ill Treatment in Israel.”
It showed Israeli doctors are complicit in torture and other abusive practices. Doing so violates their Hippocratic Oath.
They witness interrogation harshness. They’re actively involved. They permit what demands condemnation.
They “conceal information, thereby allowing total impunity for the torturers.” They’re beholden to power. They permit lawlessness. They ignore prisoner rights.
They spurn fundamental ethical standards. They cross the line irresponsibly. They’re unapologetic. They’re guilty of high crimes. They deserve punishment. They’re unfit to practice medicine.
Torture is official Israeli policy. It’s longstanding. It violates international law. It’s clear and unequivocal. It’s prohibited at all times, under all circumstances, with no allowed exceptions.
The UN Convention against Torture calls it:
“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity….”
Fourth Geneva’s Article 27 states:
Protected persons “shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof….”
Articles 31 and 32 state:
“No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons.”
“This prohibition applies to….torture (and) to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.”
Article 147 calls “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment….grave breaches.” They’re considered crimes of war and against humanity.
Geneva’s Common Article Three requires “humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing) murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment (and) unfair trial(s).”
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 7 states:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Its Article 10 states:
” All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity….”
Other international laws affirm similar obligations. Israel spurns them with impunity.
In 1987, its Landau Commission prohibited torture conditionally. It supported Israel’s Penal Law “necessary defense” provision.
It approves “psychological and moderate physical pressure.” It’s used to force confessions to convict. Detainees say anything to stop pain. Torture-extracted evidence is impermissible. Israel uses it anyway. Innocent Palestinians languish in gulag hell.
Landau Commission members approved what they should have condemned. They called coercive interrogation practices necessary against “hostile (or) terrorist activity.” They affirmed it against expressions of Palestinian nationalism.
Israel’s High Court tried having it both ways. On the one hand, it prohibited torture. On the other, it permits it in “ticking bomb” cases.
Doing so violates international law. Israeli interrogators, Shin Bet, and Prison Service officials take full advantage.
PACTI says Israel tortures thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Nearly all detainees endure torture, humiliation and other forms of abuse. Children are treated like adults. Many end up traumatized.
Abuse begins at arrest. Commanders order it or look the other way. Beatings are commonplace. Coverup and denial follow. Things worsen in detention.
Palestinians endure prolonged isolation, kicking, violent shaking, beatings, painfully tight cuffing, sleep deprivation, withholding food and water, prolonged painful positions while blindfolded, extreme heat or cold, excruciating loud music, threats against family members, lack of basic hygiene, and much more.
Cursing, physical and sexual threats, strip searches, and other humiliating and degrading practices are commonplace.
Israel’s frog position is used. It’s painful and injury prone. It forces detainees on tiptoes with hands painfully cuffed behind their backs.
The banana position involves painfully arching backwards. It’s done while extending the body horizontally to the floor. Israel uses backless chairs. Arms and feet are bound beneath them.
The shabah position involves binding detainee hands and feet to standard-sized metal frames. Doing so is painful and prolonged. Fixed to the floor rigid plastic chairs without armrests are used.
PACTI says these and other abusive practices cause “psychological and physical harm.” At times it’s irreversible. It’s harsh enough to kill.
Decades of occupation harshness institutionalized these practices. Members of most Palestinian families experience it. World leaders turn a blind eye. So do media scoundrels. They suppress what demands exposure.
Detainees hunger strike for justice. Palestinians rally in support. Things eventually may boil over. Calls for a third Intifada are heard. People only take so much before exploding. It’s long past time they did it en masse.
Jaradat’s death may spark it. Israel murdered him. Violent clashes followed. Hundreds of Palestinian administrative detainees began hunger-striking. Support throughout the Arab world grows.
Israel’s by far the region’s most despised state. It continues abusive practices. It spurns fundamental civil and human rights.
It treats Palestinians like vermin. It’s done so for decades. It violates international law doing so. It does what it wants with impunity. It menaces humanity in the process.
Police state justice is policy. Criminals in high places run things. Israeli tyranny won’t last forever. Responsible officials deserve a lower level of hell Dante forgot. They deserve that and much more.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.