In recent years, a crackdown by Israeli authorities on human rights NGOs – particularly those focused on Palestinian rights – has caused considerable concern internationally, attracting attention in both the media and at the governmental level.
Yet, perhaps the most egregious case of Israel’s targeting of the humanitarian sector has been taking place over the last three years with almost zero coverage.
In June 2016, Israeli authorities arrested Mohammed Halabi at the Gaza Strip’s Erez crossing. Halabi, a father of five, was working as the Gaza director for the international humanitarian NGO World Vision, and was returning from a meeting in Jerusalem at the time of his arrest. Read more
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
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
In US President Donald Trump’s first week in office, three policy issues dominated the headlines: his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the President’s support for torture, and his executive order targeting refugees, residents and visitors from seven Muslim majority countries.
All three have prompted widespread outrage, in particular, the ban on refugees and blanket immigration restrictions being applied on the basis of national origin and religion. Read more
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
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
Last week, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) – or Shin Bet – announced serious charges against a Gaza-based Palestinian employee of the global Christian charity, World Vision.
According to Shin Bet, Mohammad el-Halabi, the head of World Vision’s Gaza office, funnelled tens of millions of dollars of aid money to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades in an elaborate, years-long scheme.
Israeli officials wasted no time in publicising allegations that boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s narrative that Hamas is exploiting naive, or nefarious, international aid groups. Read more
This article, and pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.
A new academic study in the peer-reviewed medical journal ‘Reproductive Health Matters’ has revealed dozens of cases of “alleged sexual torture or ill-treatment” of Palestinian male prisoners detained by Israel.
The article, ‘Sexual torture of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities’, claims to be “a first in the investigation of torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature, allegedly carried out by Israeli security authorities on Palestinian men.” Read more