Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

TORTURE AND INHUMAN TREATMENT OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS

Part 2 of 2

The Israeli Defense Force officers who were responsible for torturing and murdering these seven men should be hanged, as their Axis predecessors were for the same type of war crime.

On or about 28 February, 1945 Japanese Lieutenant Sadaaki Konishi "willfully and unlawfully ordered or permitted members of the Imperial Japanese Army then under his command to kill David Gardner, an American citizen, his wife, Florence Gardner, and their infant son, James Gardner, in violation of the laws of war. Lieutenant Konishi was found guilty of the charges against him and hanged." (30)

The Zionist war criminals, whatever arrogance they now display in the world, are also not exempt from obeying the laws of war. A day of reckoning will come for each of them as it came for the brutal Lieutenant Konishi.

Human endurance can stand only so much. The prisoners of the Nazi war criminals, Jews and gentiles alike, sometimes revolted against their mistreatment by their captors. So did the Palestinian prisoners of the Zionist war criminals. In June 1983 Palestinian Arab inmates of the Zionists' Al Ansar concentration camp set fire to 220 tents in which they were miserably housed. In words which could have been said by any Nazi concentration camp commander, the Zionist camp commander, Col. Moshe Kafri, said that the Palestinians burned their vermin-infested tents "togain some publicity and not be forgotten by the outside." (31)

The resemblance between the Nazi behavior and that of the Israelis is eerie. German eyewitness Lieutenant Erwin Binge1 recounts how Jews were ordered to assemble by the Nazi barbarians in the town of Uman on September 16,1941. He says, "The result of this proclamation was, of course, that all persons concerned appeared as ordered." (32)

Uman could be the Lebanese village of Husseinija:

It is Friday, the second of July 1982, 4.30 in the morning. A voice sounds from megaphones over the streets of the village. "Good morning, dear citizens. Today is a blessed day. Today is a day of Ramadan."

But then the friendly tone disappears from the voice, and there comes a military command, "All citizens from 15 to 75 years of age have until five o'clock to appear at the village center, Husseinija. Anyone who hides, tries to flee, or does not appear, will be shot immediately."

All entrances to the village were blocked by Israeli invasion soldiers with the helpof native agents who knew every hiding place, every street crossing. The people slowly streamed out of all the houses. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers carrying loaded machine guns, along with tanks and armored vehicles, built a ring around the village center. (33)

In each detail the macabre repetition of behavior is appalling.

Jews complain about the infamous Nazi physician, Dr. Josef Mengele. What about their own war criminals, the Zionists?

Ill-treatment continued at the places of detention, particularly in Israel, in three different forms.

First, prisoners were subjected to deliberate brutality by their guards under the pretext of disciplinary action.

Second, the interrogations were very often, if not systematically, accompanied by beatings and, on some occasions, by torture. Dr. al-Islam's testimony is particularly precise on this matter. But in Cyprus the Commission had already heard the evidence of an American doctor who had tended two victims of brutality in the Gaza Hospital in Beirut. Indeed it has already been shown that some interrogations were only intended as an excuse for maltreatment.

Third, witnesses are adamant about the inefficiency and, sometimes, the total lack of medical care given to wounded and sick prisoners in the places of detention. Thus, Dr. al- Islam states that in Israel a military surgeon refused to allow 17 wounded prisoners to be treated otherwise than with a piece of soap ("They replied to me that we are going to give you a piece of soap to clean the wounds once again ... that they are terrorists and don't need any treatment.. They come to kill us and let them die in this way ... and this doctor was a surgeon of the Israeli armed forces"). (34)

The majority of Zionist officers and soldiers, indoctrinated just as the Nazis had been before them, never saw any irony in the way they were treating the Palestinians. Rarely, an occasional Israeli soldier saw the parallel. One of their Palestinian victims confirms this:

The majority of stupid officers caused pain to the prisoners. Other soldiers and officers, very few of them, were sympathizers. I will never forget that soldier who - when we, a group of prisoners, were handcuffed and chained and thrown in the section for interrogation - looked around and Torture and Inhuman Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners 63 1 when he saw no officer brought us a piece of corrugated paper and asked us to sit on it instead of sitting on the cold ground. He said, and I'm quoting his words, "I hate this place" ... and he repeated that many times. (35)

Nazi guards at times couldn't stomach the things they had to do in silence. Once in a while the truth would come out. This is true of the Zionist war criminals as well. A guard at Al Ansar testifies:

Someone let the wives and children of the prisoners get close to the fence and there was some shouting and the "brought ins" approached the fence and the soldiers on the watch towers were on alert, and someone picked up a stone and threw it at the soldiers. and the stone was followed by many more, and the soldiers directed their weapons at the crowd that was moving in the direction of the fence, and someone fired into the air, and a scream was heard, and the women by the fence cried, and the "brought ins" shouted and were now running to the fence, pulling at it.

And the soldiers didn't know what to do. And then a military police officer appeared, one of those who are not like us, who sit around the camp, are always inside the camp, afraid because they know that if anythins serious happens we shall be forced to fire and they will be hurt. So one of the MP officers appeared, aimed his rifle and began shooting into them, and we, standing outside the fences, watched how the bullets cut into the flesh of those who were hit, and the wounded begin to hold on to the wound and the blood streams through their fingers staining the blue uniform and the wounded fall to the ground crying, and someone seems to be dead, another is twisting in pain, and their friends bend down next to them, shouting, and there is more shooting in the air and the loudspeakers call on all the men to get into the tents, and they obey, leaving the crying wounded on the ground, and it is quiet except for the wounded, and the military vehicles come to remove them and the smell of gunpowder mixes for a minute with the permanent stink and then dissolves into the air. (36)

The Nazi torturers aimed at removing all human dignity from their victims. Today, the Zionist torturers do the same. One can compare the testimony of their victims. A Palestinian survivor of Israeli torture testifies:

Each morning, opening his eyes after a restless sleep, each of us would ask himself, "whose turn is it today?" Meaning, whose turn to go for interrogation today. Then a well-closed caravan would come - we called it the owl - that's the name for the van given by the prisoners. It's a car, a closed car - a sort of station wagon. Then the officer or the soldier, with a grim look, would step down with handcuffs in his hands, then he would call a number, then the prisoner would go to the gate, they would handcuff him, blindfold him, throw him into the car, and then he would go to the section for interrogation. We called it the hole. We had names for everything. In the hole he would be thrown there - not for interrogation actually. They would leave him for hours and sometimes for days, handcuffed and blindfolded. No food, no cigarettes, sitting in the cold or sitting under the sun, no blankets, nothing of the sort. And then they would bring him back without asking him a single question. This happened to almost everybody.

To beat the detainee is a tradition. To insult him is something that should not be questioned. We should be thankful to the Israeli soldier or officer if he loosens our handcuffs a bit to make it less tormenting to wrists or legs. To insult one's mother or one's sister or one's religion or one's people was a daily thing to do.

One of the things that showed insensitivity is that they take the father and son for interrogation and handcuff both, beat the father in front of his son or the son in front of his father. The worst thing they did, and it really shows their insensitivity, we had very serious medical cases. Someone for example with heart troubles. They would handcuff him, chain him, blindfold him, throw him into the car to take him to hospital. Such a thing would turn a healthy person into a sick person so it's worse with a sick person to be dealt with in this way. To be beaten, to be thrown in a cell, was so normal we should be thankful we were still alive. And many times they said it, "You should be thankful because you're still alive." As if life means just to breathe and eat the crumbs. Life doesn't mean anything if it's not coupled with dignity - with human dignity. To them it doesn't mean anything. To them it seems that nobody other than an Israeli is worthy of living. To see a person handcuffed and chained, blindfolded for several days and sometimes several weeks, I don't think that is an act that would be practiced by someone who is sensitive or a normal human being. (37)

The regimen, tortures, and mistreatment inflicted by the Israelis on their Palestinian Arab victims, are the same as those perpetrated by their Nazi war criminal predecessors. This is clearly evidenced in the following account of a Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camp of Majdanek:

You get up at 3 a.m. You have to dress quickly, and make the "bed" so that it looks like a matchbox. For the slightest irregularity in bed-making the punishment was 25 lashes, after which it .was impossible to lie or sit for a whole month.

Everyone had to leave the barracks immediately. Outside it is still dark - or else the moon is shining. People are trembling because of lack of sleep and the cold. In order to warm up a bit, groups of ten to twenty people stand together, back to back so as to rub against one another.

There was what was called a washroom, where everyone in the camp was supposed to wash - there were only a few faucets - and we were 4,500 people in that section (no. 3). Of course there was neither soap nor towel or even a handkerchief, so that washing was theoretical rather than practical.,.. In one day, a person there became a lowly person indeed.

At 5 a.m. we used to get half a litre of black, bitter coffee. That was all we got for what was called "breakfast". At 6 a.m. - a headcount (Appell in German). We all had to stand at attention, in fives, according to the barracks, of which there were 22 in each section. We stood there until the SS men had satisfied their game-play ing instincts by "humorous" orders to take off and put on caps. Then they received their report, and counted us. After the headcount - work.

We went in groups - some to build railway tracks or a road, some to the quarries to carry stones or coal, some to take out manure, or for potato-digging, latrine-cleaning, barracks - or sewer - repairs. All this took place inside the camp enclosure. During work the SS men beat up the prisoners mercilessly, inhumanly and for no reason.

They were like wild beasts and, having found their victim, ordered him to present his backside, and beat him with a stick or a whip, usually until the stick broke.

The victim screamed only after the first blows, afterwards he fell unconscious and the SS man then kicked at the ribs, the face, at the most sensitive parts of a man's body, and then, finally convinced that the victim was at the end of his strength, he ordered anotherJew topour onepail of water aftertheother over the beaten person until he woke and got up.

A favourite sport of the SS was to make a "boxing sack" out of a Jew. This was done in the following way: Two Jews were stood up, one being forced to hold theother by the collar, and an SS man trained giving him a knock-out. Of course, after the first blow, the poor victim was likely to fall, and this was prevented by the other Jew holding him up. After the fat, Hitlerite murderer had "trained in this way for 15 minutes, and only after the poor victim was completely shattered, covered in blood, his teeth knocked out, his nose broken, his eyes hit. they released him and ordered a doctor to treat his wounds. That was their way of taking care and being generous.

Another customary SS habit was to kick a Jew with a heavy boot. The Jew was forced to stand to attention, and all the while the SS man kicked him until he broke some bones. People who stood near enough to such a victim, often heard the breaking of the bones. The pain was so terrible that people, having undergone that treatment, died in agony. Work was actually unproductive, and its purpose was exhaustion and torture.

At 12 noon there was a break for a meal. Standing in line, we received half a litre of soup each. Usually it was cabbage soup, or someother watery liquid, without fats, tasteless. That was lunch. It was eaten - in all weather - under the open sky, never in the barracks. No spoons were allowed, though wooden spoons lay on each bunk -probably for show, for Red Cross committees. One had to drink the soup out of the bowl and lick it like a dog.

From 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. there was work again. I must emphasize that if we were lucky we got a 12 o'clock meal. There were "days of punishment" - when lunch was given together with the evening meal, and it was cold and sour, so that our stomach was empty for a whole day. Afternoon work was the same: blows, and blows again. Until 6 p.m.

At six there was the evening headcount. Again we were forced to stand at attention. Counting, receiving the report. Usually we were left standing at attention for an hour or two, while some prisoners were called up for "punishment parade" -they were those who in the Germans' eyes had transgressed in some way during the day, or had not been punctilious in their performance. They were stripped naked publicly, laid out on specially constructed benches, and whipped with 25 or 50 lashes.

The brutal beating and the heart-rending cries - all this the prisoners had to watch and hear. (38)

Saleh Taamri was a prisoner in the infamous Al Ansar concentration camp established by Israel in occupied Lebanon. The similarities between his account and that of the just-quoted survivor of Nazi-administered Majdanek are obvious:

A SECRET PLACE FOR TORTURE

I will talk about the place which is very, very secretive - it is a top secret place. It has a code name, Gedera, meaning the wires. In that place you listen to their music coming from the transistors of the soldiers side by side with the shrieks of pain, the head slapping, the whipping of the prisoners. The rattling of chains reminds you of the dungeons which we used to see in the films about the medieval ages. That place close to Rehovet on the road between Ashkelon and Jerusalem is a security prison; some of the cells are no more than 10 feet square. Yes, I was there. That was June until October, yes. Some of the cells are onemeter by one meter. They are painted red inside, bright lights 24 hours a day - the normal light of the sun or daylight wouldn't get in. No windows. If you feel like suffocating because of the lack of fresh air, because of the humidity and the heat, you have to put your cheek on the floor and squeeze your nose between theedge of the door and the floor, gasping for fresh air. You can't sleep because you can't stretch your body. You are not alone in the cell. There is the necessary bucket and the jug - a dirty plastic jug of water. If you spill it on the ground -on the floor, you have to wait sometimes for 12 hours before the warden brings you water. You can't sleep, youcan't stretch your body. You lose your senses within 44 or 48 hours, and I'm sure some prisoners died there. You would feel that your heart is bursting. You feel every muscle, every particle of your body in pain.

It is frightening that such a place exists. The rattling of chains would be heard in the comers of the place. Some of the chains are those that are used for horses. I think the reason for that is that the place was built by the British mandate - it was used as a British police station and in such police stations there would be a stable for horses. The chains are so heavy they are brutal. I knew many prisoners who spent week after week there in handcuffs and chains.

Such a place exists and I challenge the Israelis to form a committee to examine what I say; I am sure that some prisoners died in that center. It is a mini-holocaust led by an eccentric Israeli officer. Hisname is Joshua, an Orthodox Jew, a colonel, mentally sick. He practiced torture himself. Even the wardens,many of them toldme, wondered how could such a human being deal with his children. How can he bring them up healthily in their minds and souls. But I'm sure not many Israelis know about that place. Even those who work in the place, some of them are mentally sick. But it is a place where Jewish values are massacred every minute. Jewish values are being deformed every minute. That place is a disgrace to humanity. Of course there were dogs. There was electricity that could be used - it was not used with me but I'm sure it was used with others.

There are other prisoners who were in that place, and it's strange enough that although the Israelis would argue about our condition from the point of the law as Palestinians, they don't admit that we are war prisoners, so they can justify any bad behavior towards us. But some Syrian officers and soldiers captured during the war spent many months in solitary in that damn place. Some Syrian officers lost their minds because of the isolation, the bad treatment, the demoralization that had been practiced on them all the time and I challenge the Israelis to say no. Even when the ICRC brought the Syrian prisoners presents from their families, they were taken away from them after the Red Cross delivered them and used by the soldiers themselves. They took the Syrian prisoners to Aclid so the ICRC could see them and give a record or report on where the ICRC met the Syrian prisoners and when the ICRC left they would bring them back to that mini-holocaust called Gedera. The Syrian prisoners are prisoners of war but the Israelis' behavior with them is more than brutal.

One would expect the descendants of those who passed through the holocaust to be sensitive to human suffering, to care for other humans, but the Israelis are the last to care. They are not awareof any agony they inflict on other human beings because they think - they believe that they are the first and last, they are the best, they are the only people who have suffered, and because Jews suffered that justifies any suffering they cause to others. The Israelis never fail to fabricate moral justification to hide the most immoral deed.

In Ansar we had thousands of families — fathers and sons — and it was systematic social destruction. I can't look at it except within this context. They brought the father and his sons. leaving the rest of the family exposed to poverty, worry, and hunger. They knew that. They want to dismantle the social structure of the Palestinians in the south of Lebanon. We pointed this out directly and through the ICRC - they wouldn't listen. We told them, why should you put in the wires the father and his six sons? Leave one to support the family. They wouldn't care. They would laugh.

There were doctors, engineers, civilian pilots, teachers, students, workers, all kinds of people with all kinds of jobs andcareers in life. Was it necessary? Some of those who were confined in Ansar were well-known lawyers, Lebanese lawyers. They were not fighters, they never handled a gun in their lives. If they belonged to political parties, those parties were licensed by their own government. They were not doing anything against the law of their country by being members of political parties. They put in Ansar all those who they imagined did not like the Israelis. People were judged or punished not only for their beliefs but because of their feelings. I remember a newcomer in Ansar once, late 1983, he was amazed when they brought him into the section. He was in a sort of hallucination. "Why did they bring me here, I didn't do anything." The officer, who happened to be a lawyer, said, "We brought you here to prevent you from thinking of doing anything." He was a teacher.

They brought in many doctors - sometimes they would bring a doctor because it was the only way to provide a doctor without costing the Israeli government a shekel.

SICK AND WOUNDED PRISONERS

We had many sick people, with heart problems, with ulcers, many who had lost a limb, an eye, a leg or an arm, or a kidney. We had many with severe rheumatic pains. We had many with epilepsy and the funniest thing was - the funniest and most tragic at the same time - we had a number of mad prisoners simply because a mental asylum on the road between Nebatya and Sur and Saida was destroyed during the war. The residents in that mental asylum ran away, many of them, and hid in Ansar. Although the doctors in the mental asylum said such persons belong in the asylum, yet the Israelis wouldn't let them go. I remember one of those mad prisoners, named Aboumoussa, spent months in chains and handcuffs - everybody knew he was mad. They wouldn't let him go. We had another case, a young man about 20 years old, a mental case. He had a mental breakdown. Twice the ICRC demanded the release of that young man but twice their demand was turned down, then that prisoner committed suicide. I can give you the exact date, you can check this piece of information with the ICRC to prove that he was - he should have been released on medical grounds. He was a mental case, but they wouldn't let him go.

In one dialogue or a meeting between the ICRC doctor and the Israeli general for medical affairs. one of the Israeli officers who was present in the meeting said, they should thank God they are still alive. In southeast Asia they have hundreds of thousands in prison and they don't give them anything but water and bread. Here they are better off. We are ready to release a sick prisoner if we are sure he will die within a couple of days. It's better to die in his home - we don't want to have difficulties in getting the body, etc., etc. And that was registered with the ICRC doctor who was present in that meeting. I've got a full record of that. I can give you the full details about it and you can check it with the ICRC./ep

I believe that the ICRC should be brought as a witness or else what is the use of the ICRC. Because when world public opinion hears about the ICRC in prisons then people will think things are all right, things are following a pattern that is humanitarian, where conditions are suitable for humans to live. But actually, this is a misleading matter because many were killed in cold blood under the nose of the ICRC, and they could not stop the killing. The presence of the ICRC could not force the Israelis to supply us with hot water. During the 18 months of imprisonment we never had hot water to wash ourselves. We never had meat, fresh or frozen, except twice in a year and a half. On two Moslem occasions meat was brought to us by the ICRC. It was a donation from some rich Lebanese -we don't know who. We never had family visits. They never agreed on family visits. We never had the proper medical treatment. Those facts are known to the ICRC. In this, I wish you could take the testimony of Dr. Portnoy. I'm sure he's brave enough to tell the truth.

Once they opened fire, 25 of us were wounded - I've got the dates - the ambulance came after 45 minutes although it wouldn't take more than 2 minutes. There had been no key to the gate. On another occasion the prisoner died - he was bleeding to death. The ambulance didn't come — it came later and when it came, it was too late and there had been no keys to open the gate. On December 2, three were killed as I told you. Fifteen were wounded and they said it was a crazy soldier. Then, 10 days before the repatriation, four were killed, smashed by their bulldozer and .... they removed the prisoners from the valley of hell, that's the name of the place, the valley of hell, to the new sections. Four prisoners dug a hole and were hiding in it. Then a bulldozer came. When the prisoners heard the noise of the bulldozer, one of them raised his hands showing that he's there and wants to surrender. Then with the plate of the bulldozer, they just cut his head off and smashed the rest of the prisoners. I was there after the incident with another doctor. The bodies were deformed, the heads smashed. The justification the officer gave was, this group of soldiers and the bulldozer itself was in Sur in the morning of that day trying to help and rescue when the explosion took place in the Israeli headquarters in Sur. Imagine a group of soldiers who are in Sur digging out the corpses of the bodies of their colleagues and then you bring them in a prison camp searching for four prisoners who are hiding. The grudge they had, the provocation they had would make them kill anybody, and that's what they did. Another two prisoners raised their hands but they shot them. They were wounded severely and escaped death only because there were over 25 witnesses so the soldiers couldn't kill them all.

On another occasion, a prisoner approached the fence, the inner fence, within the compound of the prison camp. They shot him in the head - he died on the moment. He did nothing wrong. They'just shot him in the head. Why was that? No explanation. Another crazy soldier. Then they produced snipers. It was normal to see snipers accompanying dogs, German Shepards, like hunters around the wires of the prison camp. They also brought not only armoured vehicles or half trucks, but also tanks inside the prison camps. One way to prevent us from going to sleep was to make all those armored vehicles and heavy tanks go round between the sections at night, all night. They would shake the ground under you. Then night flares all over. They would perform their maneuvers or their practice inside the prison camp with live ammunition; the fighters would dive to a very low altitude.

Shooting was daily, shooting over our heads in the sections. Instead of asking one to keep away from the fence - the inner fence - they would just shoot. Then when they brought the Golan brigade they used more bullets than words. The Golan brigade is one of the best equipped, the fiercest Israeli division, and it fought in the invasion. They wounded many in the valley of hell. The ICRC many times protested, but no way. We had to protect ourselves. We had to fight to stop interrogation - to stop bad treatment, but actually it never stopped - never stopped and no law was implemented except the law of the commander of the camp himself.

There were about 20 sections in Ansar. Each section was 30 meters by 30 meters. In some sections you would find 400 prisoners - one toilet, so untidy. Water was rare. At the beginning, until February 1983, we didn't have fires. Each prisoner had three blankets -no mattresses, no pillows, no heaters. Even the inside of the tent was awful. It was only one layer. No light. One cup of tea a day. As I told you, no hot water at all. No boots or shoes. No proper clothes. Thousands of prisoners suffered rheumatic pains.

Then things improved a bit. After early 1983 they provided us with wood to put under us. Then kerosene light was provided, one for each tent. But no hot water at all. Then they increased the cigarettes from 5 to 10 cigarettes a day, but the worst kind of cigarettes. No canteen was provided. They never really accepted that. No meat. For two or three months we got half a cup of coffee a month. But it was then stopped.

"People might think that a seriously ill person is a tragic case. But sometimes, in a case of someone who has lost his artificial teeth, he's not sick, he's normal, but can you imagine a person who lost his artificial teeth, how could he survive? How could he eat? Especially when there are no facilities, no proper food even for the normal person. Artificial teeth were smashed by the soldiers themselves, as a general practice. We had some deaf prisoners who had earphones. Their earphones were smashed by the soldiers and when the ICRC provided them with new sets, they were also smashed.

We had a prisoner who lost an eye and an arm, who had ulcers and heart problems. They wouldn't let him go. Can you imagine- how did he wash himself? How could he eat? How could he take care of himself in such a condition? One of the prisoners lost his eyesight and they wouldn't let him go. Another prisoner had gangrene and we watched him fading away for months and they wouldn't give him medical treatment. They wouldn't let him go. Today I heard that he lost both his legs. (39)

If one should think that torture is limited to helpless Palestinians, that is not the case. Torture extends not only to Palestinians, but to Lebanese as well. And not just to prisoners of war and civilian inmates of the concentration camp system, but to employees of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Nobody is exempt. This is seen in the following testimony by a Lebanese Red Crescent Society orderly:

They brought ambulances and the patients were taken, fedayeen and non-fedayeen. Some were taken to the Nun's School and some were sent straight to Palestine or an unknown place. Then they tried another method — they made us march in groups in a yard. Our hands were tied and our eyes blindfolded, we couldn't see, but we knew it was night, Our nerves wereexhausted. It was adifferent yard in the same school, like a playground. Then I felt someone holding me by the shirt. He said "Come" and I had to follow him, stepping accidentally on a colleague, without seeing him. He (the guard) said to me, "You are a terrorist." I said, "No, I'm not a terrorist, I am an orderly in the Red Crescent." He pushed me onto another colleague near me, and said to another Israeli, "run it here." We heard a tank moving, and it passed by us so that we felt like it was going to run us over. It was a war of nerves. This happened on the second or third night. There was a lot of light and a lot of noise, and the tank repeatedly came close to us. They also used to shoot near us.

After three days they took off the blindfolds and then the interrogations began. An officer came and called me to a room. The questions were "Where are you from? What is your job? Are you a Fatah member?" I said, "No, I am not a member, I work with the Red Crescent." He asked me about the pilots, how the war was, what 1 saw, if there had been bodies. They were concerned about the dead and the prisoners, they wanted to know about them. They took me back to my place, and the beating began again.

Q: Did they beat you during the interrogation?

A: They beat me, but not as much as outside, just to frighten. But outside it was real beating, savage, deliberate. They beat us with sticks and with their feet. Any soldier who came in would look at (what was written on) our backs, not only me, hut everybody - and would start to beat us. They explained to me that on my backit was written that I was head of a group, that's why they beat me.

Those who confessed after a lot of beating to what they were accused of had their beating slackened. But we - because we insisted that we were with the Red Crescent they beat us continuously. They would say, "You are not Red Crescent, you are terrorists, you are Fatah." I saw them take some young men into a side room, and they beat them very severely - so that some of them actually died. I saw them being carried out on stretchers.

Q: Did you see any who were definitely dead?

A: I saw two, andanother thrown by the wall all black from beating. We also heard cries, very strong cries that expressed very severe pain -sometimes at night, sometimes in the day time.

Q: How often were you interrogated?

A: Every other day they took me for interrogation.

Q: Did they always ask the same questions?

A: Nearly the same. They wanted to know: Where are the terrorists? Where are the arms hidden? Where are the officers? Later I saw the two Norwegian doctors. Dr. Jiannou was with them. The Zionists were insulting them. I saw Dr. Jiannou taken twice for interrogation, his hands tied in front of him.

Q: Did they give you more water after the first few days?

A: At the Nun's School water was very scarce. The first three days we got nothing - neither water nor bread. Then they brought us water once or twice a day, in a small cup, but because of the large numbers, we sometimes didn't even get our turn (to drink). They gave a small piece of bread, once a day in the morning. But the first three days -nothing. We were living in a terrorizing atmosphere, fearing that at any time they would run tanks over us. On the fourth day in the Nun's School, they took us to the Safah factory (warehouse). They took us by bus. It had a big yard, and we saw thousands of people there, sitting on the ground, with their hands tied. One group of them were believed to have been caught with arms, fighters. They still had their hands tied behind their backs and were blindfolded -and being savagely beaten.

Q: Were you allowed to speak to one another?

A: When we arrived there we tried to talk to each other. An Israeli called me out and said "Why are you talking a lot?" and beat me on the back with a big stick. He told me to raise my hands in the air and kept me like that for ten minutes. When I let my hands drop a little, he beat me again on my back. He took out many people like me who had talked - and beat them.

At night they would order us to sleep on our stomachs. It was forbidden to raise our heads, and they hit anyone who did so. If we asked for water, or to go to the latrine they would beat us. Sometimes they would let us go - sometimes they refused and beat us. (40)

The testimony of the Lebanese Red Crescent orderly corroborated by Dr. Nabih Shuaiby, a Palestinian physician from a village near Ramallah on the West Bank. For two years, before falling into the hands of the Israelis, he worked in southern Lebanon in the field of preventive medicine. Dr. Nabih Shuaiby testifies:

They asked me: "Are you from El Fatah?" "No," I said, "I am a doctor from the West Bank, a cousin of Dr. Azmi."They told me: "If you say you are fromEl Fatah it will be better for you:"

They hit me on the head. I fell and they beat me and kicked me. They tied my wrists behind my back and tied my legs to my wrists. I was in great pain. They were beating me all the time. Large men stomped on my head, stomach, heart. 1 felt a paralysis of respiration. I felt I was dying. I entered a state of hallucination. I was yelling all the time. I knew I needed water. I cried for water. Instead I got blows from rifles and boots. The soldier dragged me on the ground. A captain pulled me by the rope around my neck telling me that I had insulted the Israeli government.

I heard a soldier shout: "All heads on the ground. Anyone who moves will be shot." I heard the shots. They continued at night. It was psychic torture. And all the time they were beating me. I was between life and death.

I hallucinated for six days. When I came to I was in Safa and I found the rope around my neck. I saw much blood on my abdomen. My legs were hanging, my jaw broken. Other prisoners told me about what had been done to me and how a soldier had made knife marks on my throat. Many people didn't believe 1 had survived. They told me: "I couldn't bear to see you like this. I cried for you." (41)

Finally, if comparisons between the Zionist war criminals and the Nazi war criminals in their inhumanity do not show the same odiousness to the student of the subject, we have testimony from a Lebanese prisoner of the Zionists at Al Joura:

Al Joura is a place specializing in torture - a steep place surrounded by barbed wire fences and a watchtower. You find a tent, a table and bench in the entrance. Nearby, a nylon curtain with holes at eye level, for the informers. There is no lavatory, only a pail in the middle. Their hands on their head, the prisoners must keep still. In the evening they eat a tomato and some bread. After that, the soldiers come in with four huge dogs, kept on a leash. The prisoners shout their fear and the Israelis roar with laughter. Screams, tears, barking and laughter are heard the whole night. In the morning, as in the evening, they receive a tomato and some bread. One of the prisoners explains to one officer that they were robbed in the bus. He gives them something to write on to note the stolen articles, then comes back declining any responsibility of the Israeli army in those thefts. Only the objects "deposited" can be claimed.

At 10 o'clock in the morning pictures are taken of the prisoners, and they receive a numbered card with the name, the nationality, number of the tent and the expected camp. Their clothes are taken off, they are sprayed with DDT, and then dress again. The informers interrogate them again. One of the prisoners accused of being an officer of Fatah comes out, head covered with blood.

The means of torture: To hit with an iron rod, to piss in the prisoner's mouth, use electrical wires, stub out cigarettes on their bodies. To expose them blindfolded to a raging public, at a football game, who hurl stones at them.

Under blows, they are directed to a camp near Al Joura and put in tents. This camp counts 27 tents, each tent contains 30 prisoners. (Except for one of them that holds 50 prisoners). 860 persons are detained in this camp where water was furnished. Sitting for a week without moving, hands on their head, except during meals and for their needs (a pail). (42)

In closing, we quote from the diary of a Polish Jew, Chaim Kaplan, on war crimes committed by the Nazi torturers and murderers. Alas, many of the Palestinian and other Arab victims of Israeli imprisonment could say exactly the same words:

The cries of the victims in the prison courtyard were heard by the throng outside. Rage and frustration turned into mass weeping. Other prisoners locked inside the prison began to shout and beat their heads against the walls. There is nothing more nerve-shattering than the concerted weeping of a great crowd. The wailing at this hour in history was an echo of the weeping and lamentation decreed upon the generations of the people of Israel. It was a protest against the loss of our human rights. (43)

The Nazi war criminals deprived their victims of their human rights, because to them the Nazis were "Ubermenschen" and their victims were "Untermenschen." The Zionist war criminals deprive their Palestinian Arab victims of their human rights because to them the Zionists are "Ubermenschen" and their Arab victims are "Untermenschen." The tortures perpetrated by the Zionists will only cease when their ideology and the unjust fruits of their transitory victories disappear, just as the tortures perpetrated by the Nazi war criminals before them ceased only with the destruction of their ideology and the unjust fruits of the so-called "Thousand-Year Reich."

ZIONISTS ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH THEIR USE OF TORTURE

In 1987 the so-called Israeli cabinet asked Meir Shamgar, President of the Supreme Court, to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the interrogation practices of the Shin Bet security service. That its purpose was purely a whitewash is shown by the fact that Meir Shamgar himself was a Brigadier General and Legal Adviser to the Minister of Defence at the time when Israel launched its 1967 war of aggression. He was also one of the Zionist terrorists exiled by the British in 1944. (44)

Shamgar appointed a commission of three, with former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau as chairman. Landau had been the Presiding Judge in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The second member of the commission was the State Comptroller, Judge Ia'akov Maltz. The third member of the commission was Major General Yitshak Hoffi.

Hoffi had joined the Palmach in 1944. He was a company commander in 1948. He was deputy commander of the paratroop brigade during the so-called "reprisal actions" and the Sinai Campaign of 1956; he was head of the Paratrooper Corps from 1962-1964; he was head of Operations Department, General Staff Branch, from 1965-1968 and thus during the 1967 war. General Hoffi was head of Mossad from 1974- 1982. (45)

Professor of Law John Quigley of Ohio State University published an analysis of the Landau Commission's failings in an article entitled "International Limits on Use of Force to Elicit Confessions: A Critique of Israel's Policy on Interrogation," published in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law:

Extracting a confession by force is prohibited by human rights law. In a territory under military occupation, it is also prohibited by humanitarian law. However, these prohibitions are difficult to enforce when a government tries to suppress "opposition groups." A government may take the position that it need not treat detainees in the same manner. A government may, for example, resort to the use of force to extract confessions from a certain class of detainees.

Israel has made such a choice by adopting a policy which condones the use of force by interrogators against suspects involved in security related cases in the Arab territories it currently holds under military occupation. The policy, formulated in 1987, authorizes certain forms of physical force. International law, however, prohibits any force for the purpose of extracting a confession. The validity of a confession elicited by force is suspect even if only modest force is used, since any use of force carries an implicit threat to use more, possibly greater, force.

Palestinians living in the military occupied territories are considered opposition groups by the Israeli government. Most convictions of Palestinians on security-related charges in West Bank or Gaza Strip military courts are based on confessions with little corroboration. Palestinian detainees have frequently alleged torture by Israel's General Security Service (GSS) interrogators. In 1978 the East Jerusalem Consulate of the United States studied the issue, since Palestinians having criminal records were not entitled to United States visas. Many visa applicants with criminal records claimed that their convictions were based on a confession gained by torture. After investigating a number of such cases, the Consulate concluded that torture had occurred. Amnesty International stated in 1979 that "there is sufficient prima facie evidence of ill-treatment of security suspects in the Occupied Territories by interrogators and detaining officials to warrant the establishment of a public inquiry into this matter."

Israel has been criticized for failing to provide procedures that protect againstcoercedconfessions. This Article analyzes Israel's policy on force to elicit confessions in light of applicable prohibitions in international human rights law and humanitarian law. First, it highlights flaws in the Landau Commission's legal justifications and explanations for the use of force to elicit confessions. Next, it suggests that there are ambiguities in Israel's policy on interrogation. It then concludes that, as a result of these ambiguities, the policy condones the use of force to elicit confessions and thus violates certain human rights and humanitarian principles of law ...

The Landau Commission attempts to justify the permissibility of some violence since the suspects interrogated were charged with terrorism or subversion. In the particular context of Arab offenses against Jews, the Commission argued that normal evidence-gathering techniques do not suffice. Human rights law, however, does not permit any derogation from standards of interrogation, either with respect to the type of offense or on the basis of a threat to the state in question.

Although human rights law may permit derogation from certain rights in emergency situations, it does not permit derogation from the right not to be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading manner. Treaty articles permitting derogation from certain rights explicitly exclude the right not to be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading manner. The European Commission made that clear in Ireland v. United Kingdom: "...An emergency situation such as that existing in Northern Ireland cannot justify ill-treatment under the Convention." Therefore, even if Israel actually were in an emergency situation, the Landau Commission should not have acquiesced to the use of torture, or inhuman or degrading interrogation tactics...

It is dangerous to authorize interrogators to use physical force against a detainee. Any force used in interrogation causes harm to the detainee and casts doubt on the validity of a confession. Authorizing any level of force may encourage Torture and Inhuman Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners interrogators to use more force than is permitted.

The level of force permissible, moreover, is not the proper focus of inquiry. Rather, focus should be on the impact of an interrogator's activity on the voluntariness of a confession extracted as a result of that activity. Human rights law follows both approaches, since it prohibits not only torture but also coercion of confessions.

Any interrogation technique that leads a suspect toconfess through fear of physical harm to himself or others is improper. It is improper not only as a violation of the rights of the accused but as a threat to the integrity of the judicial process. A coerced confession is not a reliable confession.

Particularly in light of Israel's record on the issue, the government should take a strong position against physical abuse of detainees. Israel's policy condoning certain forms of physical force in interrogation violates prohibitions against torture and ill treatment found in both human rights and in humanitarian law. The only effective way to prevent physical force by interrogators is an absolute prohibition. Under Israel's approach, an interrogator who tortures a suspect has not violated a clearcut prohibition but is guilty of no more than exceeding what may not be a clear guideline.(46)

NOTES TO CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

1. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, Selected and Prepared by the United Nations War Crimes Commission, volume 15 (London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1949), p. 101.

2. Ibid., p. 71.

3. Endpapers Nine, Spokesman 47, Winter 1984-85, p. 30.

4. Franklin P. Lamb, ed,, Reason Not the Need: Eyewitness Chronicles of Israel's War in Lebanon (London: Spokesman, 1984), pp. 656-657.

5. Ibid., pp. 741-742.

6. Indictment Presented to the International Military Tribunal sitting at Berlin on 18th October, 1945, British Command Paper 6696 (London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1945), p. 50.

7. Robert K. Woetzcl, The Nuremberg Trials in International Law (London: Stevens & Sons, Ltd., 1960), p.226.

8. Lamb, Reason Not the Need, pp. 750-751.

9. Ha'aretz, November 5, 1982.

10. Lord Russell of Liverpool, The Scourge of the Swastica: A Short History of Nazi War Crimes (New York, Philosophical Library, 1954), p. 25.

11. Lamb, p. 764.

12. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, p. 105.

13. Lamb, p. 767.

14. Anthony Arthur, Deliverance At Los Banos (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985), pp. 64-65.

15. Abram L. Sachar, The Redemption of the Unwanted (New York: St. Martin's, 19831, p. 27.

16. Lamb, pp. 765-766.

17. Ibid., pp. 768-769.

18. Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz: Autobiography of Rudolf Hess (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1959), p. 25.

19. Lamb, p. 776.

20. Lord Russell, p. 59.

21. Lamb, pp. 778-779.

22. Sachar, p. 35.

23. Lamb, p. 780.

24. Ibid., p. 766.

25. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, volume 15, p. 101.

26. Ibid., p. 77.

27. Lamb, p. 781.

28. Ibid., pp. 783-785.

29. Ibid., p. 787.

30. Arthur, pp. 259-261.

31. Lamb,p. 791.

32. Testimony of a German Army Officer, 15 August, 1945, Jerusalem, 1959, p. 303.

33. Lamb, p. 767.

34. Ibid., pp. 126-127.

35. Ibid., p. 710.

36. Ibid., p. 715.

37. Ibid., P. 700.

38. Yehuda Bauer, A History of the Holocaust (New York: Franklin Watts, 1982), pp. 211-213.

39. Lamb, pp. 701-705.

40. Ibid., pp. 744-745.

41. Ibid., p. 777.

42. Ibid., p. 711.

43. Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985), p. 242.

44. Who's Who in Israel 1985-86 (Tel Aviv: Bronfman Publishers, 1985), p. 304.

45. Ibid., p. 157.

46. John Quigley, "International Limits on Use of Force to Elicit Confessions: A Critique of Israel's Policy on Interrogation," Brooklyn Journal of International Law, volume 14, No. 3, 1988, pp. 485-502.