02 June 2007

Israeli Time Bomb

A reader has written to ask why I have not mentioned the kidnap of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who disappeared in the Gaza Strip on 12 March. In part I have not done so because others, such as Charles Moore in today's Telegraph, have done so far more effectively than I could do — In the spirit of which, I point you in the direction of an item that I suspect most readers in Britain will otherwise miss out on, "Israel’s “sadistic torture” of Palestinians" at AlJazeera. It begins:

In Israel, there is “no effective barrier – not legal and certainly not ethical – that stands in the way of using torture,” concluded a recent report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).

The report slammed the Israeli High Court’s approval of the use of tough tactics to interrogate Palestinians classified as “ticking bombs”, saying that the ruling was interpreted by Israel’s internal intelligence service, the Shin Bet, as a green light to torture almost every Palestinian detainee. Moreover, PCATI said that prison wardens, policemen and even doctors took part in torturing Palestinian detainees, as well as lawyers, military judges and senior officials in the Justice Ministry.

In the report, titled “A Time Bomb”, PCATI detailed accounts of nine Palestinian detainees who have been subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of their Israeli interrogators over the past year.