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Volume 24

May 2011


  Did Israeli Physicians Ignore the complaints of a Palestinian Torture Victim?

MYNET, Ynet and Yediot Ahranot's local Newspapers in Netanya and Kfar Saba covered the story of Jihad Mughrabi, a Palestinian security suspect, arrested 3 years ago, who was tortured under a GSS interrogation, an interrogation violent enough so as to necessitate medical attention. His tormentors took him to Laniado Hospital in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, where the treating physicians patched him up and returned him to his torturers. No questions, no reporting, no accountability.  The victim complained that he told the physicians that he was beaten by those very men who brought him to hospital. On his behalf PCATI with PHR Israel filed complaints with the Israel Medical Association, has a HCJ petition in process and most recently filed a complaint with the police against the physicians.

For more on this story:

English, in Haaretz
MYNet Hebrew

  Petition to the High Court of Justice: The Attorney General Refuses to Open Investigations Against GSS Interrogators Involved in Torture and Ill-Treatment

On 15.2.11 PCATI filed a petition on its own behalf and in the name of five other human rights organizations, against the Attorney General. In the petition we asked the court to order the Attorney General to change the policy regarding investigations of GSS employees. The current policy has allowed for the closure of all the hundreds of complaints of torture or ill-treatment filed with the Attorney General by human rights organizations. Over the last decade, not a single such complaint was found to be appropriate for criminal investigation.

The petition further claimed that the Attorney General is obliged under the law to launch a criminal investigation in response to any and all complaints filed with him. By quoting from the “Knesset Protocols” and evaluating the content of the law, we showed that this was indeed the original intention of the legislature when it authorized the Attorney General to evaluate complaints of torture and ill-treatment in GSS interrogations. Furthermore, we argued that when the Attorney General closes the majority of complaints under the justification of a “lack of corroborating evidence”, he seems to be requesting additional evidence, evidence which a torture victim will find impossible to collect. In this way the Attorney General creates an absurd situation in which his conduct also entails the violation of Israel’s obligations in accordance with international agreements to which the State of Israel is a signatory.
The first hearing of the petition will be held in January 2012.

For more on the topic, click here.

  “Rights and Freedoms” – The Weekly Radio Show hosted by PCATI Atty. Nabeel Dakwar on Radio All for Peace

PCATI is pleased to announce the introduction to the airwaves of a program which will focus on legal issues in general and on human rights matters in particular, with a special emphasis on prisoners’ rights. The program is produced and broadcast in Arabic, and hosted by PCATI Attorney Nabeel Dakwar. The program will be broadcast for one hour twice a week on Radio All for Peace.

Despite the program’s focus on the fields of law and human rights, its language is not the official, literary Arabic but rather spoken, colloquial Arabic, with the goal of being as close as possible not only to the ears but also the hearts of its listeners.

To date, nine episodes have been broadcast, dealing with the following issues: the contribution of human and civil rights organizations to the advancement of human rights, featuring Atty. Bana Shoughry-Badarne; impunity of GSS interrogators from criminal responsibility, featuring Atty. Samah Elkhatib Ayoub; incommunicado detention, featuring Atty. Labib Habib and Atty. Jouad Boulus; house demolition policy and the right to housing as a fundamental right, featuring Atty. Kays Nasser; house demolition in Silwan, featuring Atty. Maj’d Badr; The International Day Against Racism, featuring Atty. Muhammad Oth’man; International Woman’s Day, featuring Atty. Taghrid Jahashan and Ms. Amal Sana’a; house demolition in el-Araqib and the 35th Land Day, featuring Atty. Salem Abu Madigam; and the Goldstone Report and its consequences under international law, featuring Atty. Maj’d Badr.

To hear the broadcasts, tune in to Radio All for Peace on 89.8 FM on Sundays at 11:00and on Wednesdays at 14:00, or go to Radio All for Peace’s Arabic-language website.

  Two “Film and Human Rights” Events Held this Year – in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv

Over the past few months, the staff of PCATI’s Education Department has run two series dealing with the crossroads between film, critical viewing and human rights. The series were held in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv and were open to the public.

The goal of these meetings is to deepen the public dialogue around human and civil rights in Israel and to develop critical viewing skills through film. The different series held included various films including
Waltz with Bashir, The Secret Life of Words, Machuca, Milk, and more…

Our most recent such series, “
Popcorn and Social Justice”, was held at the Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem, in cooperation with “Ginger – Vegetarian Community Center”. This series included a variety of cinematic styles – such as documentary, animation, fantasy and drama. it was also unique in that, in addition to its in-depth examination of human rights issues, it looks at the connection between the struggle for human rights and the struggle to protect animal rights, a subject which is the focus of “Ginger” and its activities.

For more on the topic,
click here...

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Everyone and their own Goldstone

by Dr. Ishai Menuchin

As an Israeli I am happy that Judge Richard Goldstone has decided that, in retrospect, some of the IDF’s actions, initially designated as war crimes in his committee’s report, were in fact not so. The re-evaluation of information which he received led him, as a jurist of integrity and moral backbone, to adjust some of his judgments.

Goldstone’s new words only strengthen our calls, dating to the convening of the committee, for the Israeli government to cooperate with the committee and its successors. Yet the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and many other politicians attacked the appointment of the committee and all of its assertions, deciding ahead of time that its intention was to convict Israel. At present they continue to ignore Judge Goldstone’s comments according to which the committee’s conclusions were influenced, among other things, by the Israeli government’s failure to cooperate. Politicians, being politicians, do not show remorse about the stupidity of refusing to cooperate; instead, they praise the judge’s article for the assertions which appeal to them, while attempting to erase those assertions of his which do not. Yet today’s Goldstone is the same Goldstone of the Committee, and his judicial rulings today rest on the same moral backbone as they did two years ago. Some of his evaluations have changed but some of them remained as they were – that Operation Cast Lead included actions which are suspected of being war crimes and must be investigated. 

To read more click here...

Tough images, indeed

by Atty. Irit Ballas

From “HaOketz” website

All enlightened societies have similarities, but all cases of oppression and abuse are uniquely and distinctively cruel. The torture and humiliation laid out in the book “The Ballad of Abu Ghraib”, has much to teach us about what took place in Iraq, but it can also make us think about what happens in our own backyard.

In a picture which has since become an icon of the prolonged American occupation of Iraq, stands Private First Class Lynndie England, her hair cropped short, in a military outfit and tall boots. In her left hand she holds a leash, and her gaze is directed towards the other side of the prison hallway, which is checkered with barred windows and strewn with trash. The opposite end of the leash in her hand is wrapped around the neck of a naked, bearded figure, collapsed on the floor, either moaning in pain or fainted. England gazes at the figure with a fixed – if not indifferent – stare. Her boy-like figure, her short-cropped hair and the vague look in her eyes; these create the very same everyday atmosphere, the same banality of evil, which made the picture so powerful and infamous.

The book “The Ballad of Abu Ghraib” describes the events which led to the taking of this photograph and several others, which were leaked and distributed in April 2004, and which overnight became symbols of abuse and oppression. Through a series of in-depth interviews with soldiers and members of the American administration in Iraq, Phillip Gourevitch and Errol Morris describe in painstaking detail the establishment of the prison, the interrogation methods employed within it, the bombings it suffered, and the stories of the soldiers who were to eventually carry out such harsh violence against these detainees.

click here to continue reading at the HaOketz website (in Hebrew)

Radio “All for Peace” and Social Television

  Program on “All for Peace” about the Israeli Knesset and marking Land Day, hosted by Dr. Ishai Menuchin, PCATI Executive Director.

To listen,
click here (in Hebrew)

  Dr. David Senesh, Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer at Levinsky College of Education, tells the story of the torture he was subjected to as a prisoner of war during the 1973 War

Watch the lecture of Dr. David Senesh, part of our “Film and Human Rights” series which took place in Tel Aviv.

To watch the clip,
click here [in Hebrew]

  2010 Human Rights Ball

Watch the clip summarizing the “Ball on the Brink – The 2010 Human Rights Ball”, an event produced by PCATI and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to mark International Human Rights Day.

To watch the clip,
click here.

  “Pain during torture as a means of humiliation and oppression”, Judd Ne’eman – from the Human Rights Ball

Clip of the speech of Judd Ne’eman, director and winner of the Israel Prize for Film. From the “Ball on the Brink”.

To view the clip,
click here.

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  • Friends of PCATI are invited to suggest new issues to be treated by PCATI and to influence its activities.
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