Saturday, 27 February 2016

Time for Palestine Solidarity Campaign to Break with the Quisling PA

The Banana Position - A Torture Stress Position Used by Israel
 This is a shocking report from Electronic Intifada.  Not only does the PA torture most of those arrested by its Preventive Security Forces but it also hands those it has tortured onto the Israeli military in order that they can be detained and tortured again.
Article on the Oslo Accords October 1993 predicting the collaboration of the Palestinian security forces
We know that Quisling-in-Chief Mahmoud Abbas has defended the ‘sacred’ nature of the PA’s co-operation with the Israeli military.  Abbas vows to uphold ‘sacred’ security coordination with Israel
Israeli doctors are an essential part of the torture system
 We also know that Abbas’s security forces have done their best to quell the latest uprising against the Israeli occupation.
Stress positions used by Israel and Palestinian security forces
The Times of Israel reported that:
‘Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the leaders of his Fatah movement’s Tanzim militant wing Sunday to immediately work to calm spiraling tensions with Israel….. Abbas has said several times he is working to calm tensions and doesn’t want to see violent unrest spread, though Israeli officials accuse him of inciting a spate of terror attacks and violent West Bank clashes. 
Abbas has also spoken in recent days to Fatah leaders who have led calls for more terror attacks against Israelis, including Mahmoud al-Alul and Sultan Abu al-Inin, and demanded that they cease making statements in support of such attacks.’

Stop urging violence, Abbas tells Fatah militant leaders

According to Israel Today,  in an interview with Defence News, Major General Majid Faraj, the head of Palestinian intelligence, said that in the previous three months the PNA security forces prevented approximately 200 attacks against Israelis and detained about 100 ‘potential terrorists and confiscated their weapons’.

It is absolutely clear that the PA and its security forces operate as a sub-contracted arm of Israel’s military.  It does the dirty work for the Israeli armed forces.  In October 1993 I wrote, in an article Birthright sold for a mess of potage for London Labour Briefing [which students of the Bible and the story of Jacob and Esau will recognise!)  which criticised the then almost universally applauded Oslo Accords: (see)
‘The agreement provides for a Palestinian police force of up to 30,000 strong.  Their first duty will be to suppress Palestinian dissent and any resistance to the Accord.  Little wonder that this provision evokes such Israeli enthusiasm…. This agreement will lead, not to an independent state but to further misery and defeat… In effect the prison guards will be removed from inside to outside the prison walls… There will be plenty of pretexts for the Israeli army to go back into the autonomous areas…’

It is almost embarrassing how accurate this article is in its predictions.  Every single prediction has come true.  Yet I didn’t have a crystal ball.  Fortune telling is not my expertise.  A simple Marxist analysis of what the Oslo Accords represented, stripped of the nationalist rhetoric and a concrete analysis of the situation of the Palestinians resulted in an article that predicted, quite correctly, that the Oslo agreement represented a ‘massive victory for imperialism’.
Israeli actor in torture session
We can begin to erode that victory by first of all cutting our links with the PA and not giving it any 
credibility.  That means cutting links with the Palestinian mission in London led by Professor Hassasian.  Those with any illusions in this mission should think carefully.  Despite his rabble rousing speeches, the London mission is part and parcel of the PA’s operation. 
Another Israeli stress position that Palestinian forces also use
Recently I wrote twice to the Mission suggesting that they might make their voice heard over the death sentence (later commuted to 800 lashes and 8 years in prison) for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh  Unsurprisingly I heard nothing by way of a reply.

Tony Greenstein

Shikma - Israeli Torture and Detention Centre

PA collaborates with Israel’s torture agency

Charlotte Silver 25 February 2016

Shikma prison in Ashkelon is the site of routine torture of Palestinians by Israeli interrogators, according to a new report.

Rafael Ben-Ari Chameleons Eye

Palestinian prisoners are being held in painful positions for up to 35 hours, according to a new report.
The Israel Security Agency, known as the Shin Bet, is confining detainees to filthy cells smaller than the size of an adult body stretched out, the report also reveals.

Compiled by the Israeli human rights organizations HaMoked and B’Tselem, the report focuses on the Shikma interrogation center in Ashkelon, a city in present-day Israel.

It is based on 116 affidavits from Palestinian “security prisoners,” most of whom were still under detention when they testified.

The detainees – the majority men under the age of 25 from the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank – recalled their arrest, transfer, interrogation and holding conditions to attorneys while sitting behind a glass partition, with their legs tied to the chair and under the supervision of a prison guard.
The report is a product of a three-year investigation. More than half of those interviewed reported they were forbidden to meet a lawyer or denied access to the International Committee of the Red Cross for all or part of their time at Shikma.

That is despite how Israel’s own prison rules stipulate that a prisoner must be allowed access to the Red Cross within two weeks of detention.


The report also highlights the collaboration between the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security force and Shin Bet.

Thirty-nine of the detainees interviewed were arrested and interrogated by the Palestinian Authority before being arrested by Israel.

Most of those were arrested by Israel less than a month after being released by the PA, and usually interrogated about the same matters.

Adi Awawdeh, 21, was detained by the PA for 70 days, during which he was physically and mentally tortured. Just a week after he was released, Awawdeh was arrested by Israel. When he arrived at Shikma, his interrogator showed him his file from the PA and said, “Here’s your file. It’s all ready. Do you want to add anything and save us some time?”

The report accuses the doctors at the detention facility of complicity in the torture program. One 18-year-old high school student had a swollen face because of the beating he received by soldiers on the way to Shikma.

Although the student also had epilepsy, mental health issues and a head injury resulting from being hit by shrapnel two years earlier, a doctor at the center pronounced him to be healthy.

The student was not provided with regular medication during his 44 days at the center. After losing consciousness while being tied to a chair on one occasion, a doctor gave him painkillers and his interrogation continued.

Court-approved cruelty

The report notes that the ill-treatment at Shikma is far from isolated. It makes clear that the interrogation system followed in the center was shaped by the Israeli state and describes cruel and degrading treatment as “inherent” to the Shin Bet’s policies.

Israel’s justice ministry has responded to the report dismissively, charging the authors with “distorting the existing reality” to advance an agenda on the basis of “several isolated incidents.”

But in fact the interrogation methods described in the report bear a striking resemblance to the methods the Israeli government and judiciary have already sanctioned.

In 1987, the state-appointed Landau Commission reviewed the Shin Bet’s interrogation methods. Headed by Moshe Landau, a former president of the Israeli high court, the commission concluded that both physical and psychological “pressure” were necessary to defend Israel against “hostile terrorist activity.”

“Terrorism,” according to the Landau Commission, included essentially any activity related to Palestinian nationalism.

An unpublished annex to the commission’s report listed interrogation tactics that it deemed acceptable. That list has been approved by the Israeli state.

In 1999, Israel’s high court ostensibly banned the Shin Bet from using the list of Landau-approved techniques, but left the option available in cases of “ticking bombs.” This exception was regularly invoked after the second intifada broke out only two years later.

The decision gave Israel a legal framework within which it could torture that the United States would later replicate.

According to the US Senate report on torture published in 2014, the CIA argued in 2001 that “the Israeli example” could be used “as a possible basis for arguing that torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.”

Israel’s torture and abuse has never been reserved for “ticking bombs.”

Firas Misk, a 24-year-old from Hebron, was arrested while working in Tel Aviv without a permit to be in Israel.

“They banged my head against the wall several times … At least three of them sat on top of me, beating the hell out of me, punching and hitting my head and chest with clubs,” Misk said.

Cells like graves

The new report demonstrates that physical violence begins immediately upon arrest, which frequently occurs in the middle of the night.

“Imagine being in bed with your wife and soldiers coming in just like that. I woke up to see a soldier in front of me, pointing a gun at me,” Ashraf Asfur, a 34-year-old student and farmer from Hebron, said.

Violence upon arrest can consist of slamming a detainee’s head against the wall to beating sessions that last up to an hour and a half. One detainee reported that he was beaten until he passed out.

The very little food the prisoners receive once they arrived at Shikma was reportedly not fit for human consumption. Detainees report being given dishes of raw, moldy and foul-smelling food, sometimes uncooked chicken and rotten eggs.

At Shikma, interrogation sessions can last more than 24 hours. The detainees were held there for between three and 58 days.

During their interrogations, detainees were placed in non-standard chairs that force them into straining positions. For instance, their chairs would be tilted backwards or forwards or the legs weren’t even.

Some reported that their chair had a fifth leg that was affixed to the ground in the middle of the chair, so that they would swirl around on their chair throughout the interrogation.

In their cell, detainees were provided filthy, threadbare blankets, too thin to give them any respite from their cold cells that were infested with cockroaches, flies and other insects. Many prisoners developed fungal infections and other skin problems.

Some detainees were held in solitary confinement for 18 consecutive days.

“A solitary confinement cell: it’s like a grave, with yellow light and no window,” said Nur al-Atrash, a 25-year-old from Hebron. “They pump in really cold air, you feel helpless. There were times when I started banging my head against the wall, I didn’t know what else to do.”

Awad Ghaidan, a 21-year-old owner of a car parts store from Qibya, also likened his cell to a grave.

“You start dreaming and imagining stuff,” he said. “Sometimes I asked myself whether I was dead or alive.”

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