Torture

 In 2016, Haaretz reports that despite hundreds of complaints of Shin Bet (ISA) torture, Israel has not yet launched a single investigation.

In 2016, Haaretz reports that despite hundreds of complaints of Shin Bet (ISA) torture, Israel has not yet launched a single investigation.

According to Amnesty International's 2017/2018 report on Israel and the Occupied Territories, "Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including children, remained pervasive and was committed with impunity."  Shin Bet, also known as the Israel Security Agency (ISA), is notorious for torturing Palestinian detainees. When U.S. police officials participate in police exchanges in Israel, they often meet with Shin Bet officials or former officials.

In 1999, Israel's supreme court issued a ruling that banned the use of torture, except for circumstances when ISA officials had reason to believe that a suspect had information on an imminent terrorist attack.   However, Israeli and international human rights organization report that the ISA did not stop using torture after the ruling.  

According to B'Tselem, "The cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees is inherent to the ISA’s violent interrogation policy. This policy is dictated from above, and not set by interrogators in the field."  

 Israeli solider points gun at child.

Israeli solider points gun at child.

From 2001 to 2017, the unit within the ISA which is responsible for investigations has received roughly 1,100 complaints alleging torture by members of Israel's security forces.  None of these complaints involving Palestinians, has led to a single crime investigation.  According to Haaretz, as of 2016, the unit that is charged with investigating complaints of torture employs only one investigator.  Accordingly, it is unlikely that  complaints are thoroughly investigated, even thought they involve severe beatings and extensive sleep deprivation.

In January 2018, for the first time, an ISA interrorgator is facing an investigation over torture allegations. Haaretz reports, "The Justice Ministry confirms that an investigation was opened in the wake of a complaint filed more than a year ago, but would not answer other questions about it, such as who filed the complaint, what actions it refers to, what the possible charges are and why the matter was only turned into an investigation so long after the incident occurred." 

Human rights groups have expressed skepticism that the recently announced investigation will change practices, or bring about any change in the impunity of interrogators.

Reported in Al Jazeera, Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah, a legal rights group that represents Palestinians, said: "This case is the exception that proves the rule - one investigation after many hundreds of complaints have been ignored.  "It will be promoted to suggest - wrongly - that the system has limits, that it respects the rule of law."