Since 2003, there have been 700 complaints of torture in the Israeli Prisons, none of which have been investigated. There have been 53 deaths from medical neglect and 72 deaths resulting from torture in the Occupation’s prisons since 1967. Arafat’s death is the second this year that is attributed to Israeli detention; Ashraf Abu Dra’ was subjected to medical negligence during his detention and died on 21 January 2013 from a fatal coma shortly after his release. - Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association
Israel is a malevolent state that routinely engages in both crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those who criticise it and compare its practices to those of the Nazis are often labelled diabolical anti-Semites. Yet we have an Israeli colonel during one of the occupations of Lebanon arguing with a sergeant in the presence of the journalist John Simpson that:
We are like Nazis here. Sharon is a war criminal, and we are helping him do his dirty work. It’s genocide. All of us are guilty.
It is not an isolated incident.
There is something quintessentially evil about those who torture. It does not matter what ‘noble’ end to which it is used. In its application it is a monstrous evil. The consequentialist logic of ends justifying means has little ethical value against the humanist position of process legitimising outcome.
While torture has been openly practiced by most if not all countries and religious institutions in the world at some stage, in the latter half of the 20th Century a sense of shame in the face of international opprobium caused most of them to deny it or pretend to take measures to bring it to a halt in those instances where they could no longer deny its existence. That was until the US breached the official discursive protection that was in place. The language of ‘thou shalt not’ which served as a shield was cast aside. When George Bush responded to an allegation that he had approved water boarding torture with the words ‘you bet’ the moral authority that Western democracies liked to claim for themselves vis a vis their less democratic adversaries suddenly seemed quite scrawny. No longer did torture sit on the human rights ‘no no’ pantheon alongside rape and slavery whereby there was no contingency that could ever legally permit them. Even prior to Bush, behaving like some 1970s Argentine dictator, approved torture, Israel had from 1999, through its High Court, while formally claiming to prohibit the wicked practice, agreed to it in conditions of necessity.
Arafat Jaradat was arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli troops on the 18th February. By the 23rd of February he was dead. The Palestinian Authority Minister for Detainee Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, is reported to have told a news conference in Ramalla that an autopsy conducted in Israel in the presence of Palestinian officials revealed that Jaradat had sustained injuries for which there was no anodyne explanation:
The information we have received so far is shocking and painful. The evidence corroborates our suspicion that Mr. Jaradat died as a result of torture, especially since the autopsy clearly proved that the victim's heart was healthy, which disproves the initial alleged account presented by occupation authorities that he died of a heart attack.
Jaradat's lawyer, Kameel Sabbagh, said about seeing him in court:
When I entered the courtroom I saw Jaradat sitting on a wooden chair in front of the judge. His back was hunched and he looked sick and fragile ... when I sat next to him he told me that he had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated..When Jaradat heard that the judge postponed his hearing he seemed extremely afraid ...
Elsewhere a legal expert has complained that hunger strikers are being tortured by Israeli authorities. It actually sounds like something we would expect to read about in the memoirs of a survivor from a concentration camp run by Rudolf Höss.
Moreover, according to the journalist Charlotte Silver, the same High Court that licenced 'necessary' torture
has been extravagantly helpful in securing the Shin Bet with its imperviousness to accountability to international law, and thus enabling widespread and lethal torture.
Let those who back Israel now have the chutzpah to tell us that there are no points of comparison between the practices of Shin Bet and those of the Gestapo.