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Posts tagged ‘Shin Bet’

Rights groups slam Israel Supreme Court for giving ‘green light’ to torture

The Israeli Supreme Court has been accused of redefining torture so as to permit it after a major new ruling was greeted with dismay by local and international human rights groups.

Last week the court – sitting as the High Court of Justice – denied a petition brought by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh. Read more

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Israeli torture of Palestinian children ‘institutional’

A recent article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has confirmed the extent to which Shin Bet interrogators subject their prisoners to torture.

Methods include slapping the head “to hurt sensitive organs like the nose, ears, brow and lips”, forcing a handcuffed individual to squat against a wall for long periods of time, and placing the suspect bent backwards over a chair with his arms and legs cuffed. Read more

Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?

Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development. Read more

Balad arrests won’t be the last in Israel’s ethnocracy

The arrests of senior Balad party officials appears to mark a new escalation in Israeli authorities’ efforts to eliminate or stifle Palestinian activism inside the Green Line.

On Sunday morning, more than 20 individuals connected to the party, including chair Awad Abdel-Fattah and other senior members, were arrested by the Israeli police, who conducted raids of party properties, seizing documents and computers. Read more

Jerusalem mayor boasts of collective punishment of city’s Palestinians

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat likes to present himself to a Western audience as the head of an open, pluralistic city, a place at ease with its ethnic and religious diversity, despite complex “security” challenges. The reality is somewhat different.

As reported in Haaretz (with thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation), while speaking recently with Likud party members, Barkat boasted of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. Read more

Are Israeli soldiers shooting to maim?

Israeli leaders like to boast they have “the most moral army in the world”, a claim made by everyone from Ehud Barak to Binyamin Netanyahu. Over the last decade, however, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been the subject of stinging criticism and well-documented allega­tions of war crimes, particularly with respect to offensives in the Gaza Strip. Read more

Israel under scrutiny, as secret trial of international NGO official begins

A senior Gaza-based employee of US-headquartered charity World Vision appeared in an Israeli court on Tuesday, charged with numerous counts of ‘supporting terrorism’.

According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), Mohammad al-Halabi infiltrated the charity on behalf of Hamas, redirecting tens of millions of dollars to Al-Qassam Brigades over many years.

But to the consternation of Halabi’s lawyer, family, and colleagues, as well as diplomats and human rights workers, the trial – which reconvenes in October – is being conducted entirely in secret. Read more

The media’s Palestinian disappearing act

Early on Tuesday morning, Israeli forces – three battalions worth, according to press reports – invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, located south of Hebron.

An Israeli military spokesperson said the raid was an “operational activity to uncover weaponry”. Palestinian residents described it as an unprecedented attack on a beleaguered refugee camp. Read more

Israeli civilian courts in a Shin Bet state

In recent years, Israel’s military court system has been the subject of well-deserved – and long over-due – scrutiny, thanks to its almost 100 percent conviction rate of Palestinians in the West Bank. The military courts are a key part of an apartheid regime that sees Israeli settlers tried in civilian courts, while Palestinians – including hundreds of children per year – are subjected to military show-trials.

But what about Israel’s civilian courts? Comparatively little attention has been paid by human rights groups to the plight of Palestinians tried for ‘security offenses’ in Israeli courts, which includes Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and, since the 2005 ‘disengagement’, Gaza residents. Read more

Gaza NGO arrests are about the Israeli blockade, not aid or Hamas

In recent days, Israeli authorities have announced charges against two, Gaza-based employees of international NGOs – one from World Vision, one from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Each individual faces accusations of varying degrees of assisting Hamas.

Many have expressed scepticism about the charges, particularly given the lack of due process. Mohammed Halabi, for example, was detained without charge for 50 days and alleges that he was tortured by Shin Bet officials during his interrogation. He was also denied access to a lawyer for three weeks. Read more