Palestinian Abductees: Torture Expression of Jewish Sadism
|Wednesday, September 20,2006 00:00|
|By Khalid Amayreh, Ikhwanweb|
A number of Palestinian abductees, including ministers and lawmakers, have described the “physical and psychological torture” they experienced at the hands of Jewish torturers, otherwise known as Shin Bet interrogators as “a clear expression of Jewish sadism.”
“They seemed to enjoy hurting us and making us suffer,” said a Palestinian cabinet minister via a letter smuggled by his lawyer.
“I think the way these people behave resembles Nazis practices. I wouldn’t exaggerate much if I said that the Zionists are the Nazis of our time.”
One of the former abductees who has been subjected to “systematic torture” is Muhammed Barghouthi, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Labor.
Barghouthi spent six weeks this summer incarcerated in what he says “totally inhuman conditions.”
“For five, six, seven hours, they would take me and tie my hands behind my back like this, and with my feet up, in the Shabah,” Barghouthi told reporters in his office in Ramallah.
“To go from the minister’s office to a Shabah seat, it was quite a shock,” he told western reporters.
Barghouthi, an independent with no links to Hamas, said he didn’t really know why he was abducted from his home and subjected to “this cruel treatment.”
“I really don’t know. I think Israel classifies Palestinians into two categories, either you are an informer or collaborator, or a terrorist that ought to be annihilated. Israel considers all dignified Palestinians who are against violence but insist on Palestinian national rights and demand an end to the occupation as terrorists.”
Another Palestinian official allegedly tortured by Israeli Shin Bet agents is Farhan Alkam, the mayor of the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar , just 8 kilometers north of Hebron .
Alqam, a former journalist, was abducted from his home on 2 September and taken an Israeli detention camp near Ramallah.
Alqam had refused to be handcuffed in his house in front of his children and wife. He said he was punished severely for this.
“Once I got out onto the Jeep, they beat me savagely and one soldier actually sat on my head and shoulders as they took me to the Gush Etzion police station.
“They treated me as if I were a serial murderer or irredeemable criminal. They acted like Nazis. I think they just enjoy beating us and humiliating us.”
Alqam compared the beating and humiliations to condition at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay .
“I was placed in solitary confinement, unable to speak to any other detainee for the whole day. Sixteen hours later, they took me to Ofer Prison near Ramallah.”
Eventually, after 10 days, Alqam was brought before an interrogator at the detention facility where he had to wait 9 hours with no food and no access to a toilet.
“My hands were tied with painfully tight plastic locks and my legs shackled. I was treated like an animal. Is this the way Jews view non-Jews, as animals?”
When Alqam appeared before the Israeli occupation’s military court 14 days after his initial abduction, he was accused of “undermining the security of Israel ” and of “carrying out illegal activities.”
Failing to prove that he indulged in any wrong-doing, the court eventually released Alqam on 15 September.
Torture is still widely practiced in Israeli jails and detention centers. Israeli government spokespersons normally don’t confirm or deny charges by human rights organizations that Israel uses torture as a matter of policy, especially against non-Jews.
According to B’tselem, the Israeli human rights group which monitors human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian territories, torture is sanctioned by the law and gives Shin Bet interrogators wide freedom to practice torture.
“Since 1999, the number of people subjected to physical force have gone way down, but there are enough cases to be worrying.
“Before 1999, it was just an assembly line of torture, some lighter, some more serious. Now the people who are being subjected to torture or to other physical abuse are people who have information that the GSS wants access to. It doesn’t’ justify it, but it is much more focused,” said Jessica Montell, the executive director of B’tselem, in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, published on 18 September.
A few months ago, the Israeli occupation army abducted dozens of Palestinian lawmakers and cabinet ministers in order to use them as bargaining chips to bully Palestinian resistance fighters to release an Israeli occupation soldier taken prisoner during a resistance operation on 25 June.
An Israeli judged last week decided to free 21 of the abductees on the ground that Israel allowed the Palestinian legislative and municipal elections to take place, dismissing the Israeli government rationale that the detainees were involved in an illegal election.
However, the Shin Bet, which effectively rules the occupied territories, overruled the judge and kept the hostages in jail until a further notice.