The history of the Shin Bet’s use of torture, and what it says about Israel today

Israel outlawed torture more than two decades ago, yet years later evidence of the state’s security services exerting rampant physical and psychological abuse continue to surface.

Human rights groups representing Palestinians who have filed more than one thousand suits alleging torture by the Shin Bet, also known as the Shabak or General Security Service, claim the practice is still endemic and continues in a system with little oversight.

How can torture be both banned and common practice? The answer lies in the organization’s longitudinal development, where secrecy has prevailed.

It is governed by policies that are classified and have never been examined by an independent or external body, shielding it from media and public scrutiny.

On 8 February 1949, the Shin Bet was officially formed but it was not until 1957 that the general public became aware of its creation.

Its inception fell upon a period where many “threats” were looming overhead for the newly formed state, in the wake of the 1948 war against five neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinian Nakba, the start of the Palestinian refugee crisis where 700,000 vacated their homeland and were either forcibly driven out or left due to fear.

Another 156,000 Palestinians remained within Israel – the new government took this as a potential threat.

Initially, the Shin Bet constricted its focus towards half a million Palestinians who had become Israeli citizens in the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Today, its mandate covers ensuring state security, dismantling terrorist groups, and counter-espionage.

In this turbulent context, the existence, operations, and tactics of the Shin Bet were kept in the shadows.

The organization became the embodiment of its motto – “The defender that shall not be seen.”

The early years


In 1948, Ezra Danin – head of the Haganah’s “Arab Section” – was in charge of “destroying Arab villages.” The Hagana, a Zionist paramilitary force, was the forerunner to the Shin Bet as the former’s forces were drawn from to create the latter after Israeli independence.

In his quest to maintain state control, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, sustained the British Mandate appointed The (Emergency) Defense Regulations, 1945.

These regulations gave Israel, like the British before them, an inordinate degree of powers relating to detention, intelligence, and other law-related matters.

In essence, a military government system was present in Israel following independence.

This added with the fact that Israel has been in a perpetual state of emergency since independence has legitimized many insidious actions against the Palestinian minority that includes a range of surveillance-based methods adopted by the Shin Bet and police.

The objective was to constrain the Palestinian refugees from re-entering Israel.

To achieve this, the Shin Bet, the army, and other agencies used intelligence received from their collaborators which allowed security agencies to drive the refugees back to their camps.

In the 1950s, the government of Mapai (The Workers Party) used the Shin Bet to coerce people into voting for the Mapai’s Arab satellite parties.

The Mapai used their satellites politically to keep their Arab allies contented and also to use their Arab puppets in the Knesset (parliament) for propaganda purposes.

Although the Shin Bet achieved its goals on various occasions, it was unregulated, during this period, by any law.

The Shin Bet was not only considered untouchable but for many years since its formation, remained a secret organization – hidden from the public’s eye.

Its clandestine behavior was and still is abetted by Israel’s Military Censor, which aims to restrict the media from revealing sensitive information.

In this period, the organization was only answerable to the prime minister; and the masses were not supposed to know the name of the organization’s head and the death of an agent remained unreported.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Shin Bet would also monitor if the Palestinians celebrated Independence Day with enthusiasm or distaste, and would take action accordingly.

In this same period, Palestinians had to get permission from the Regional Arab Committees of Arab Affairs to do rudimentary tasks such as receiving loans, obtaining jobs in the public sector, shifting their residence etcetera – this committee comprised of a Shin Bet officer, military governor, government representative, and a police officer.

The Shin Bet was also invasive in suppressing anti-Israel or anti-government insinuations.

The agency was active in the vetting of teachers and principals in the Palestinian school system. 

Furthermore, the Shin Bet monitored teachers who were seen as being too nationalistic, and if these tendencies proliferated, the agency would intervene and threaten their dismissal.

The Shin Bet also used to monitor various aspects of education which included teachers speaking against security agencies; discourses that had anti-Semitic implications; and criticisms of the military government.

Concerning Palestinian politics in Israel, Israel and its agencies used to monitor local elections and education.

In local elections, the Jewish government supported the Palestinian clans who were loyal to them by allowing the heads of clans to run the local councils.

Furthermore, local authorities, which comprised elected Palestinians, were initiated to provide educated Palestinians with jobs and impede them from adopting undesirable political behaviors.

In fact, professor of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University, Ahmed Sa’di, contends that the plan was to include the Palestinians on the fringes of the economy so that their financial survival becomes more valued than their political or moral beliefs.

From 1958-1969 and beyond, the government used ploys such as incentivizing Palestinian youth to study abroad then making their return home challenging; implementing harsher laws; and reducing the Palestinian numbers in integral economic zones etcetera.

The government entrusted the Shin Bet and others to gather intelligence to execute said plans.

The military government that was in effect since 1948 was finally discontinued in 1966. In 1967, the Six-Day War erupted between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

It changed the socio, political, and geographic landscape of the Middle East. Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

In 1976, Israel announced that they would be confiscating Palestinian land for settlement and security reasons – the tragedy that ensued would be remembered as Land Day.

This decision was met with massive protests by the Palestinians which caused the IDF and police to be deployed.

In the subsequent clashes between the Palestinians and the security forces, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and around 100 were injured.

Hillel Cohen, an Israeli scholar, mentions a specific instance leading up to the protests in his book on informants “Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948-1967.”

He states that Tareq ‘Abd al-Hayy, then the mayor of the Arab village of Tira in northern Israel, called the police on the Land Day protesters after he attempted to disband the marchers, but was thwarted by local shop owners.

Cohen called this “the swan song of his close relationship with the security forces.”

Following instances like this, the Shin Bet would either intimidate to incentivize working for them as informants, locally referred to as “collaborators.”

Possible benefits for informants include a government job or a permit to open a business.

This point is reinforced in the documentary, “Inside the Shin Bet,” by Hussein Abu Hussein, a lawyer, who highlights that due to the poverty-stricken conditions of the Palestinians.

He said they become perfect candidates for conscription and Avigdor Feldman, a human rights lawyer, claimed that Arab spies are present in all Palestinian towns.

In 1984, an event unfolded that had grave repercussions for the Shin Bet.

The Bus 300 affair shocked the Israeli public and demonized the Shin Bet in the mainstream’s eye.

A bus departing from Tel Aviv to the town of Ashkelon was hijacked by four Palestinians who demanded the freedom of 500 Palestinian inmates.

The military was involved and in the ensuing operation, two of the four Palestinians were killed, while the other two were captured alive and handed over to the Shin Bet.

A military spokesperson lied to the public however that all four perpetrators had been killed in the operation.

It was only later that Hadashot, an Israeli newspaper, published a photograph that showed one of the terrorists being taken alive by security agents.

Outraged by this, the public demanded an investigation into this issue. The Zorea Committee, and following it, the Blatman Committee, was appointed to find out the truth, but both failed.

It was not until two years later that high-ranking Shin Bet officials revealed agents had lied to the Committee and erroneously faulted a high-ranking IDF official for the murder of two terrorists.

The director of the Shin Bet at the time, Avraham Shalom, was heavily involved in the cover-up, as was later disclosed in 1986 when it was discovered that the pair were killed under interrogation.

In May 1986, details were made public regarding the involvement of Shalom in the murder of the two terrorists and his authorization to Shin Bet officials to lie under oath but despite this, the President shockingly pardoned him.

Commenting on this incident, Yossi Beilin, the former Israeli Justice Minister, remarked that the general public comprehended that the Shin Bet could be liars and killers.

The event brought the elusive agency and its approaches into the public eye for the first time.

The 1980s also witnessed the Nafsu Affair in which IDF officer, Izat Nafsu, confessed to his crimes of improper interrogation methods such as insulting, beating, sleep-depriving, shaking, etcetera.

The Nafsu Affair coupled with The Bus 300 affair forced the Israeli government’s hand and it moved towards the regulation of the Shin Bet.

Shin Bet and the legal framework, the 1980s to today
In 1987, the Landau Commission was established by the Knesset to deliberate on Shin Bet’s interrogation methods.

The Landau Commission concluded that: the Shin Bet did use violent interrogation techniques, which it must refrain from, but a “moderate level of physical pressure” could be applied in some cases.

Israeli forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, violently arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.

Initially, the results were looked at in a positive light, although the Commission was and is still criticized for numerous reasons.

Firstly, the report has a secret annex, which contains rules for permitted interrogation techniques  – this annex has never been made public.

Furthermore, Dr. Ishai Menuchin – Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – comments that this “moderate physical pressure” exemption was eventually subjected to all Palestinians.

The “moderate physical pressure” rule was too ambiguous and the Ben-Porat Report exposed that the Shin Bet frequently broke this rule.

Moreover, the allowance of “moderate physical pressure” in Shin Bet interrogations was the essence of the problem and made effective supervision useless.

In hindsight, the Landau Commission was counterproductive as the jargon of the regulations allowed the Shin Bet to manipulate it to its desired outcome.

In 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice intervened and stated unequivocally that “physical pressure” is forbidden except in “ticking time bomb” scenarios.

In the documentary “The Gatekeepers,” six former Shin Bet directors – Avraham Shalom, Yuval Diskin, Avi Dichter, Yakkov Peri, Ami Avalon, and Carmi Gillon – were interviewed for the first time. In the film, Gillon explains the ticking time bomb justification: the scenario involves a possible terrorist attack and the person the agency is interrogating has information that can foil said attack.

This is the only exception to using “physical pressure” according to the court.

What was astonishing is that all of the former heads of the spy agency concluded that violence will beget more violence and that dialogue is the solution for long-term peace.

Even Shalom – the infamous director of the Shin Bet during the Bus 300 affair – claims that there is no substitute for “talking.”

Dichter says that peace must be built on a system of trust and cannot be obtained militarily while Gillon mentions that Israel would be remiss if they do not engage in peace talks.

If former Shin Bet directors believe that force is not the solution then there must be some credence to their thoughts.

In 2002, new legislation was finally approved by the Knesset which was the first law that centered on the intelligence community.

The legislation called the “Shin Bet Law,” took many years to finally approve.

After the law, the Shin Bet and other agencies were no longer shrouded in secrecy and under the aegis of this law, Shin Bet’s internal and external supervisions became regulated.

Yet tragically, the most controversial aspect of interrogation methods was surprisingly untouched by the law.

The Knesset was content with the ruling made by the Israeli High Court of Justice and that this was to remain the ruling on Shin Bet’s interrogation techniques.

The Shin Bet still works under the Prime Minister but its actions have become regulated than in the past – at least on paper.

The Knesset Foreign and Security Committee is the body that makes sure if the agency is functioning within the framework of the law.

B’Tselem reports that Palestinians who have undergone Shin Bet interrogations state that “they are held in inhuman conditions, including narrow, windowless cells…” – others “reported exposure to extremes of heat and cold, as well as sleep deprivation.”

Tal Steiner wrote in Haaretz the case of murder suspect Palestinian Samer Arbid who was hospitalized in September 2019 due to multiple broken ribs and kidney failure.

She states that he was tortured by the Shin Bet and when an investigation was conducted, it was, like hundreds before it, found that there was no wrongdoing by the agency.

She writes that “This sends a resounding message to every Shin Bet interrogator: It doesn’t matter what you do during the interrogation, how much violence you use against the interrogee or what the results are, the system will defend you.”

Since 2001 around 1,200 complaints of allegations of agents using violence during Shin Bet interrogations have been filed, yet there have been no indictments, according to the Israeli Committee Against Torture.

The group estimates that it takes around 39 months for each claim to be processed, which is done by an evaluation of statements from the complainant and the interrogator. The Shin Bet does not record or keep records of tactics used during interrogation.

The volume of complaints quadrupled between 2012 and 2015, according to information supplied by the Israeli government to its high court.

The influx came after the court allowed for allegations of torture to be perused in criminal proceedings.

Even so, a group of human rights organizations representing Palestinians in torture cases, logged over  850 torture complaints that were sent to the attorney general between 2001 and 2014, of which were not investigated.

Unfortunately, the Shin Bet did not heed the advice of these ex-heads, and human rights abuses continued.

Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s eminent 1968 prediction of Israel’s occupation careening the country towards authoritarianism resonates today.

He prophesied, “A state ruling over a hostile population of 1 million foreigners will necessarily become a Shin Bet state.”


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Subhuman Israel Displays to the World it’s ‘Necroviolence’ on bodies of Palestinians

“One of my first reservations about Zionism was and is that, semi consciously at least, it grants the anti-Semite’s first premise about the abnormality of the Jew.”
Christopher Hitchens

 The Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, which holds bodies of Palestinians killed in alleged attacks on Israelis, is notoriously known as the place where Palestinian organs and body parts have been harvested.

Israel’s use of “necroviolence” on bodies of Palestinians has been condemned as part of its policy to exert further control over the people living in the occupied territories.

On Sunday, a video (I don’t like to watch it) that went viral on social media showed an Israeli bulldozer violently scooping up the body of a Palestinian who had been shot by Israeli forces east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli authorities alleged that the man, identified as 27-year-old Mohammed Ali al-Naim – a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, was attempting to plant an explosive device near the Israeli fence. (a ready excuse)

Video: Israeli soldier forces knife on Palestinian girl The video was circulated widely in Palestinian media and on social networks on Tuesday, the same day that two more Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces, who claimed that the youths had attempted to carry out stabbings.

The video showed a group of Palestinians running forward with a wheelbarrow to try to carry al-Naim’s body, as well as another man who was wounded, back from the fence but they were also targeted by Israeli soldiers.

At least two men were shot in the legs, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Muthana al-Najjar, the journalist who shot the video, said the Israeli bulldozer, which was accompanied by a Merkava tank, ran over al-Naim’s body and tried several times to pick it up with its blade before taking it back to the Israeli side as the body dangled from the edge of the blade.

“Desecrating the dead body of a young unarmed man on the borders of the Gaza Strip in front of the cameras of the whole world is a heinous crime that adds to the occupation’s list of crimes against our Palestinian people,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip, in a press statement. 

According to Budour Hassan, a legal researcher with the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), this necroviolence – the act of humiliating human bodies – is a means of exerting control over bodies of the Palestinians.

“We see it as an extension of an entire policy designed by Israel to control bodies of Palestinians,” Hassan told Al Jazeera.

 

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The word necroviolence, Hassan added, is borrowed from anthropologist Jason De Leon’s book, The Land of Open Graves, in which he coined the term to describe the mistreatment of bodies of migrants who crossed the US border from Mexico.

Hassan added that while desecrating Palestinian bodies was not exceptional to the Israeli forces, the video of the incident was a rare instance where it was carried out publicly.

“Israel carries out similar forms of humiliation on bodies silently in morgues or in the cemeteries of numbers,” she explained, referring to mass graves marked with numbers etched on metal plates rather than names.

The cemeteries are situated in secret locations that Israel has deemed closed military zones. Some of the bodies have been there since the 1967 war.

Furthermore, the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, which holds bodies of Palestinians killed in alleged attacks on Israelis, is notoriously known as the place where Palestinian organs and body parts have been harvested.

Collective violence

According to JLAC and Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, an NGO, Israel is the only country in the world that has a policy of confiscation of human remains, where it relies on regulations dating back to 1945 (during the British Mandate) as grounds for its policy.

In September 2019, the Israeli High Court approved the practice after several legal cases were brought against the state.

According to Adalah, the ruling stated that emergency regulations allowed the Israeli military to order temporary burial of Palestinians classified as enemies “based on considerations that take into account state security, civil order, and the need to negotiate for the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers”.

However, international law considers the practice a violation of human rights. According to the Geneva Conventions, the parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way, “if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged and that their graves are respected, properly maintained, and marked in such a way that they can always be recognized”. (Even Osama Bin-Laden had a better end)

Ramy Abdu, the founder of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said Israel withholding bodies of Palestinians is an act of collective violence that is considered a war crime.

“The Israeli authorities have repeatedly adopted a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies, which blatantly contradicts several international conventions,” Abdu told Al Jazeera.

“Articles in the Geneva Conventions assure the necessity of burying the bodies of deceased detainees or those who were killed with respect according to procedures that are appropriate with their religious culture,” he added.

‘Dehumanising Palestinian bodies’

According to the JLAC, 52 bodies of Palestinians have been detained by the Israeli government as part of a cabinet decision in 2016.

A further 18 bodies were also detained by Israel from the 2014 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, whereas the cemeteries of numbers hold at least 253 bodies.

“There are two branches to this policy,” Hassan said. “One is the legalised violence that is approved by the Israeli High Court, and the other is the violence practised by the Israeli army. Both follow the same pattern of dehumanising Palestinian bodies.”

It is widely known that Israel employs the practice as a tactic for leverage in negotiations. In 2012, Israel released bodies of 90 Palestinians in a gesture for reviving peace talks. Between 2013 and 2014, some 27 bodies were returned.

Speaking about Sunday’s incident, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed the bulldozer was used to “collect” al-Naim’s body.

He said he intended to keep the bodies from Gaza to use as bargaining chips with “Palestinian militants” in body-swap deals, and slammed the uproar over withholding al-Naim’s body as the “hypocritical criticism of the left”. 

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“I back the IDF that killed the terrorist and collected the body,” he said in a post on Twitter. “This is how it should be done, and this is how it will be done.”

Hassan said while Bennett’s comments are not surprising, they are interesting in the way “it justifies the extent to which Palestinians have been dehumanised in Israeli media and by Israeli officials which is a culmination of the whole system of necroviolence that is being exerted on Palestinians”.

12 children among dozens killed in Israel’s merciless slaughter. Eighty percent of the fatalities are civilians and half of the injured are women and children, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

In a letter sent to the Israeli chief military advocate general, Adalah called for a criminal investigation of the incident, and termed the manhandling of the body a “blatant” violation of international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian law.

“The Israeli Supreme Court has likewise recognized in past rulings that harm to the dignity of the deceased is a violation of Israel’s basic law: human dignity and liberty,” the center said.

Aida Touma-Sliman, a Palestinian Israeli member of Knesset representing the Hadash party – a part of the Joint List alliance, called Bennett “the minister of death and brutality”.

“They steal a body, abuse it with a bulldozer and still argue that the army is the most moral in the world,” she said. “Since Bennett took office as defense minister, hoarding bodies to bargain with is Israel’s declared policy.”

Ofer Cassif, another Joint List parliamentarian, called the abduction of a body as “the nauseating, blood-thirsty act of vampirism”.

“Here is what [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu has to offer: Siege, killing and abducting bodies,” Cassif wrote on Twitter. “We need to put an end to their celebration of death.”

Israel Rejects UN Plea to Allow Blue Helmet Protection to Palestinians, Blames Palestinians

gif request - Israel_Aliyah_War_for_Independance_Six_Day_War_Liberation_of_Jerusalem GIF

Alien Zionists conquer Palestine 1948

08/19/2018

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Israel has rejected a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlining options for strengthening the protection of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories.

The story goes, when Israel occupied Egyptian Sinai, they brought a huge drill with hundreds of stones that had ancient Hebrew calligraphy on them. They dug and buried them secretly in the desert. “They did that so the next generations will find them and say that this land belongs to Israel,” he explained.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement late Friday that “the only protection the Palestinian people need is from their own leadership.”

The 14-page report laid out four options, from increasing aid to the Palestinians, sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.

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The report was requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since late March.

“Instead of suggesting ways to protect the Palestinian people from Israel, the UN should instead hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for continually endangering its own people,” Danon said.

“The report’s suggestions will only enable the Palestinians’ continued rejectionism.”

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A UN mandate for a protection force would require a decision from the Security Council, where the United States could use its veto power to block a measure opposed by Israel.

The report released to all UN member-states comes amid a vacuum in Middle East peace efforts as European and Middle East powers await a peace plan from President Donald Trump’s administration that has been under discussion for months.

UN diplomats have recently begun questioning whether the US peace plan will ever materialize.

Beating US ‘Veto’: Palestinians Need Protection from Israel

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Israel should not have free reign to abuse Palestinians at will, and the international community should not stand by and watch the bloody spectacle.

What is taking place in Palestine is not a ‘conflict’.  We readily utilize the term but, in fact, the word ‘conflict’ is misleading. It equates between oppressed Palestinians and Israel, a military power that stands in violation of numerous United Nations Resolutions.

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It is these ambiguous terminologies that allow the likes of United States U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, to champion Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’, as if the militarily occupied and colonized Palestinians are the ones threatening the security of their occupier and tormentor.

In fact, this is precisely what Haley has done to counter a draft U.N. Security Council Resolution presented by Kuwait to provide a minimum degree of protection for Palestinians. Haley vetoed the draft, thus continuing a grim legacy of U.S. defense of Israel, despite the latter’s ongoing violence against Palestinians.

It is no surprise that out of the 80 vetoes exercised by the U.S. at the UNSC, the majority were unleashed to protect Israel. The first such veto for Israel’s sake was in September 1972 and the latest, used by Haley was on June 1.

Before it was put to the vote, the Kuwaiti draft was revised three times in order to ‘water it down’. Initially, it called for the protection of the Palestinian people from Israeli violence.

The final draft merely called for “The consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the Gaza Strip.”

Still, Haley found the language “grossly one-sided.”

The near consensus in support of the Kuwait draft was met with complete rejection of Haley’s own draft resolution which demanded Palestinian groups cease “all violent provocative actions” in Gaza.

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The ‘provocative actions’ being referred to in Haley’s draft is the mass mobilization by tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, who have been peacefully protesting for weeks, hoping that their protests will place the Israeli siege on Gaza back on the U.N. agenda.

Haley’s counter draft resolution did not garner a single vote in favor, save that of Haley’s own.  But such humiliation at the international stage is hardly of essence to the U.S., which has wagered its international reputation and foreign policy to protect Israel at any cost, even from unarmed observers whose job is merely to report on what they see on the ground.

The last such ‘force’ was that of 60 – later increased to 90 – members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

TIPH was established in May 1996 and has filed many reports on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian city, especially in Area H-2, a small part of the city that is controlled by the Israeli army to protect some of the most violent illegal Jewish settlers.

Jan Kristensen, a retired lieutenant colonel of the Norwegian army who headed TIPH had these words to say, following the completion of his one-year mission in Hebron in 2004:

“The activity of the settlers and the army in the H-2 area of Hebron is creating an irreversible situation. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out. In other words, if the situation continues for another few years, the result will be that no Palestinians will remain there.”

One can only imagine what has befallen Hebron since then. The army and Jewish settlers have become so emboldened to the extent that they execute Palestinians in cold blood with little or no consequence.

One such episode became particularly famous, for it was caught on camera. On March 24, 2015, an Israeli soldier carried out a routine operation by shooting in the head an incapacitated Palestinian.

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The execution of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was filmed by Imad Abushamsiya. The viral video caused Israel massive embarrassment, forcing it to hold a sham trial in which the Israeli soldier who killed al-Sharif received a light sentence; he was later released to a reception fit for heroes.

Abushamsiya, who filmed the murder, however, was harassed by both the Israeli army and police and received numerous death threats.

The Israeli practice of punishing the messenger is not new. The mother of Ahed Tamimi, Nariman, who filmed her teenage daughter confronting armed Israeli soldiers was also detained and sentenced.

Israel has practically punished Palestinians for recording their own subjugation by Israeli troops while, at the same time, empowering these very soldiers to do as they please; it is now in the process of turning this everyday reality into actual law.

A bill at the Israeli Knesset was put forward late May that prohibits “photographing and documenting (Israeli occupation) soldiers”, and criminalizing “anyone who filmed, photographed and/or recorded soldiers in the course of their duty.”

The bill, which is supported by Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, demands a five-year imprisonment term for violators.

The bill practically means that any form of monitoring of Israeli soldiers is a criminal act. If this is not a call for perpetual war crimes, what is?

Just to be sure, a second bill is proposing to give immunity to soldiers suspected of criminal activities during military operations.

The bill is promoted by deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben Dahan, and is garnering support at the Knesset.

“The truth is that Ben Dahan’s bill is entirely redundant,” wrote Orly Noy in the Israeli 972 Magazine.

Noy cited a recent report by the Israeli human rights organization ‘Yesh Din’ which shows that “soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories enjoy near-full immunity.”

Now, Palestinians are more vulnerable than ever before, and Israel, with the help of its American enablers, is more brazen than ever.

This tragedy cannot continue. The international community and civil society organizations, – independent of the U.S. government and its shameful vetoes – must undertake the legal and moral responsibility to monitor Israeli action and to provide meaningful protection for Palestinians.

Israel should not have free reign to abuse Palestinians at will, and the international community should not stand by and watch the bloody spectacle as it continues to unfold.

By: Ramzy Baroud 12 June 2018

Global Palestine, where are the Palestinians?

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Good news for Palestinians? Well, where are they?

Saudi Arabia, Egypt set up $10B fund for planned mega-city in Sinai. How about dropping some of that now into Palestine? They are dying! Or, is that the point?