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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Shin Bet Torture Transcript Published

In Israel Torture only makes the headlines when it is a Jew who is tortured
In the wake of the murder of three out of four members of the Dawabsheh family in 2015 by settlers, who threw two petrol bombs into a house in the early hours of the morning in Duma, there was a massive world reaction. 

The Israeli state was, almost uniquely, forced to be seen to do something about what had happened.  It therefore arrested and held 3 settler youth under administrative detention. It had an informant amongst the murderers but rather than blowing his cover they preferred to extract confessions via the methods usually reserved for Palestinians.

Also uniquely the torture which is a standard method of interrogation of Palestinian prisoners was used to extract confessions from the youth.  This produced outrage in Israel and in particular amongst the settlers.  Torturing Palestinians is, of course fine, but torturing Jews is a chillul hashem. A sin that breaks the heart of God no less!  Even worse, the crime for which the flower of the Zionist youth were tortured was the killing of Arabs, which in the eyes of most Israelis is barely a crime anyway.

The decision of the Central District Court to reject the confessions of the settler youth, because they had been obtained under torture should be welcomed.  By Rejecting Confessions Under Torture, Israel Takes Step Toward the Truth. However we should be under no illusion that in Israel this ruling is unlikely to be applied to the torture of Palestinians.  Although the murderers of the Dawabshe family were undoubtedly terrorists, ‘terrorist’ is a word that is almost always applied only to Palestinians.  However where a crack is opened in the practices of the State then it should be used as part of the campaign against torture as a whole.  Clearly the first thing to demand is that all interrogations, especially of children are filmed and that any confession obtained by an interrogation that is not filmed is automatically excluded.
The information below has been leaked as Israeli lawyers interrogated the Shin Bet torturers in court.  Although subject to a gag order, Richard Silverstein and others have ignored it.

Not only does Israel use torture routinely, with the tacit approval of the courts, but it also has an extensive system of censorship of anything the security state finds embarrassing.  Just one more reason why Israel is not a democratic state and why racist apologists for Israel such as Emily Thornberry need to be confronted.

Tony Greenstein

June 16, 2018 by Richard Silverstein 21 Comments
להורדה: קטעי הפרוטוקולים שהודלפו מתוך הדיונים החשאיים בבית המשפט על עינויי השב”כ בפרשת דומא

Israel HaYom article on the torture case
The entire settler movement is up in arms about the alleged use of torture against Amiram ben Uliel, the suspected ringleader in the infamous murder of the Dawabsheh family in an arson attack in 2015. It has secured the transcript of the alleged interrogations of the four suspects in the case and distributed 20,000 copies in synagogues throughout the Occupied Territories. The purpose is to stir up ire against the Shin Bet for its torture methods. Not, mind you torture methods used against all suspects. They support torturing Palestinian security suspects. Because they’re not as high on the evolutionary scale as Jews apparently. It’s only Jews who they object to torturing. Because Jews are, apparently God’s chosen people and created in the divine image. Frankly, I’d dispute the notion that settlers are made in God’s image. Rather, I think they’re created in Satan’s image. At least these murderers are.
When it comes to torture, Israel believes in equal opportunities - it does not discriminate on grounds of age (only nationality/religion)
It’s curious that the lead interrogator and torturer faulted during these interrogations is a Shin Bet Major General named Netzer, who I’ve mentioned here before. He’s long used his “professional” techniques to extract confessions from Palestinians. But treating Jewish terrorists similarly is a fairly new phenomenon. And man, do settlers hate it. They’re howling in rage about it. Apparently, they believe that killing Palestinians is God’s work and no one, especially no Jew has the right to deter them from their appointed rounds of making the world safe for Jews by ridding it of Palestinians.
I am translating part of the transcript here not because I support settlers. In fact, I hate these murderers. But unlike them, I believe in democracy and the rule of law for both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. I don’t believe in torture even to extract confessions from terrorists, whether Jewish or Palestinian. Other nations have found many ways to combat terrorism without it. That Israel stoops this low indicates it doesn’t belong among the ranks of western nations or democracies.
In current legal proceedings, the settler terrorists and their terror-loving legal counsel have appealed against the use of torture in obtaining confessions. Since the case presents a threat to the Shin Bet and its methods, the security apparatus has secured a gag order from a typically pliant Israeli judiciary against reporting on the appeal. While no media outlet has reported this information, the settlers have circulated it in the thousands of copies.
Cross examination of Shin Bet interrogator, Steven, confirming a specific torture technique used by the lead interrogator


The above Twitter thread offers a reminder to an Israeli reporter who notes that settlers are distributing the transcripts. The Justice ministry warns that the circulation of the transcript violates a gag order. Thank God for a country where such nonsense doesn’t prevail.

Here I will join in violating the gag order, but for far different reasons. In the following colloquy, a Shabak interrogrator using the pseudonym, Steven, responds to cross examination by the appellants’ attorney. This is from page 205 of the transcript. The hearing was held on December 15 2016:

Q: Do you remember that it [torture] began when someone covered his eyes and slapped him? Is that how it began?
A: Yes, I remember.
Q: The next step was that of bending [his head]. The one who bent him over was Netzer himself, no?
A: Correct.
Q: There are interrogators who stand next to the head, which is bent over backwards?
A: Correct.
Q: More or less this treatment proceeded on and off during the entire interrogation, a number of times?
A: Yes.
Q: The interrogators who grab the head from behind, do they take care that the head doesn’t strike the floor?
A: Yes.
Q: When you say so that it doesn’t strike the floor, that’s not in order to protect the head, but rather so that the head is already on the floor. So the element of the muscle pain, which is the entire purpose of the exercise, isn’t relevant, right?
A: This is a mixture of two different things to which you refer. First of all, so that the head isn’t damaged by the floor and the second so that these methods will be effective.
Q: I say this to you because due to the nature of this process it’s [the interrogation and torture] is a long, exhausting, difficult process. Raising the head and bending it down is done aggressively, or because the suspect resists, or in order for it to be effective. But this is done with force?
A: The return of the suspect to the bent over position requires brute force of the interrogator who raises the head by overcoming the resistance of the suspect or because of the weight. But this is not done as a show of force, but rather because force is demanded.
Here are two other Hebrew language transcripts that were also leaked.

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