Torturing Palestinians to death a way of life in the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Khalil Marwan

Safar 10, 1418 1997-06-16

Occupied Arab World

by Khalil Marwan (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 8, Safar, 1418)

Khalil Ali Abu Daiyya, 37, married with five children, lasted six days at the hands of his Israeli captives in the notorious Russian Compound in Jerusalem before he died on May 21. The Israeli police allege that he tried to ‘commit suicide’ and when they prevented him from doing so, he became violent. In the process of subduing him, he died.

An independent autopsy conducted by Dr Jillal Jabri, the General Director of the Autopsy Department of the Palestinian Authority, before Daiyya was buried on May 22, confirmed that:

  • the body was subjected to severe beating
  • the body sustained blows with heavy instruments
  • the hands and feet had been bound
  • fractures in various parts of the body
  • the bones of the right side of the face, on an area spanning 15-20 centimeters, had been broken by a dull heavy instrument.
  • deep lacerations on right shoulder
  • 5th, 6th, 11th and 12th ribs broken
  • severe internal hemorrhage.

Abu Daiyya was arrested in Jerusalem while with his wife on May 16. He was taken to the Russian Compound jail and there, according to witness Mahmoud Abu Ter, severely beaten. Abu Ter reported that he heard beatings on at least two occasions, and saw Abu Daiyya’s bloodied body.

Police transferred Abu Daiyya to the Givat Shaul Psychiatric hospital, a move which he resisted. He was beaten again on his hands, wrists and neck. He complained of throat pains, and on May 21, was taken to Sharei Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. There his hands and feet were tied and was beaten by the police until he died. Hospital sources claimed that when he was brought there, they tried to resuscitate him but were unable to revive him.

The exact time of death was not established.

The Russian Compound is a notorious interrogation centre for Palestinian detainees, and was the site of the last torture killing in April 1995. Abd al Samad Harizat, a computer engineer, was ‘shaken’ to death. A British pathologist who attended his autopsy on behalf of Amnesty International confirmed: ‘there is no doubt about the cause of death... he died from torture.’

Use of torture against the Palestinians, while widespread since the occupation of the West Bank and Ghazzah in June 1967, was given official sanction in the 1987 Landau Commission Report. The physical and psychological methods which may be used are contained in secret guidelines to this report.

Since October 1994, the Israeli government ministerial committee which overseas Shin Bet (the Israeli security services) has given its approval of torture at three-month intervals. This timeframe is stipulated to maintain the fiction that there is no blanket authorization for the use of torture. Yet Shin Bet has been involved in these brutal methods long before that. As far back April 1984, two cousins who had commandeered an Israeli bus, were arrested alive. A few hours later, their battered bodies were produced, with heads smashed in with blunt objects. A Shin Bet agent admitted to these brutal killings last year.

The Israeli security services received the green light to use torture against Palestinian detainees from the Israeli High Court itself, in a ruling on November 17, 1996. Khader Mubarak, a Palestinian from Halhoul village had petitioned the court asking that Shin Bet be blocked from torturing him. The court flatly rejected the petition.

The ruling not only violates international law but also the convention against torture to which Israel is a signatory. In April, a panel of experts condemned Israel’s use of torture and told the Commission against Torture meeting in Geneva that Israel was guilty of the worst kinds of atrocities.

The Palestinians are now trapped between two kinds of oppressors: the Israelis and their subcontractors who go under the label of the Palestinian Authority.

This said, Israeli torture and subjugation of the Palestinians, both collectively and individually, is particularly eggregious; especially as it is the United States and other Western powers that for decades have provided the money, guns, and political cover that make it all possible.

Indeed, in the deceptive and duplicitous name of "peace process", a regime of Middle Eastern apartheid has descended upon the Palestinian people. Palestinians today are quite literally imprisoned in Gaza and "autonomous areas", subjected to pass laws reminiscent of the South Africa of old, and overall kept in a permanent state of submission and subjugation.

What the Israelis call "law", when applied to Palestinians, is little but a subterfuge for dispossession, repression, and lawlessness of the most hypocritical kind. What the West calls "Palestinian Authority" and "Palestinian police" is little but a subterfuge for a mercenary force armed and paid to sub-oppress and control the natives.

But where is the White House when it comes to the torturing of Palestinians to death by its "strategy ally" Israel? And where are the Americans when Palestinian homes are blown up and "sealed" in collective punishment tactics clearly outlawed by international laws to which the U.S. is signatory? And where is the White House when non-American and unknown Palestinians are harassed, beaten, tortured, curfewed, and in general subjected to the most humiliating kinds of discrimination and abuse - increasingly by the PA as well as directly by the Israelis - and all with American money and guns!

Muslimedia - June 16-30, 1997

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