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Did you know?

Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


British medical journal takes up issue of Israeli doctors and torture

For previous criticism of the role of Israeli doctors in the torture of prisoners see
Doctors who are complicit with harm by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and others.

“Tortured to Death” – Women in Gaza February 24th protest the death of Arafat Jaradat. Photo by Joe Catron

Israeli doctors accused of collusion in torture

Questions are being raised about the involvement of Israeli doctors in the suspected torture of a young Palestinian detainee who died in custody last month.

Sharmila Devi, The Lancet
March 09, 2013

The death of a Palestinian prisoner in disputed circumstances in an Israeli prison has reignited a longstanding controversy over alleged physician complicity in torture as well as sparking renewed Palestinian anger over the estimated 4600 prisoners held by Israel.

The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) denied that medical professionals were involved in torture or abuse and said that as far as it knew, torture was not approved or used by Israeli security forces or prisons. However, human-rights campaigners say Palestinian prisoners have long suffered from beatings, sleep deprivation, prolonged and painful handcuffing, humiliation, and medical neglect—considered torture under international standards.

Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old petrol attendant with two children, was arrested on Feb 18 on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails during a West Bank demonstration held last November against Israeli military action in the Gaza strip. Palestinians say his arrest, months after the demonstration, and his interrogation was part of a longstanding Israeli policy to coerce prisoners to become informants after their release.

Palestinian leaders say some 800 000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces since 1967, and Jaradat was the 203rd prisoner to die. He died after several days of interrogation by Israeli’s Shin Bet internal security service on Feb 23 at Israel’s Megiddo prison. An autopsy was held the next day at Israel’s Institute of Forensic Medicine in the presence of Saber Aloul, the Palestinian Authority’s chief pathologist, who said bruising on the body was evidence of torture.

Israel’s health ministry said on Feb 28, after examining new findings from the autopsy that there was no evidence Jaradat was physically abused or poisoned, nor was it possible to determine his cause of death.

Israeli officials had originally attributed his death to a heart attack and said bruising and broken ribs were “characteristic findings of a resuscitation, which the medical crew from the Israel Prison Service and Magen David Adom engaged in for 50 minutes in an effort to save his life”.

Additional samples taken from the body were still undergoing microscopic and toxicology tests and results were not expected for several weeks. “The signs that appeared during the autopsy show clearly that he was subjected to severe torture that led immediately to his death”, Issa Qaraka, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs said at a Ramallah press conference after being briefed by the Palestinian pathologist who attended the autopsy.

Kamil Sabbagh, Jaradat’s lawyer, told an Israeli military judge a couple of days before his client’s death that he was being forced to sit for long periods during interrogation, had complained of back pain, and seemed terrified of returning to the Shin Bet detention centre where he was being held. The judge ordered an examination by a prison doctor. Jaradat died at Megiddo prison and it was not known when he was moved there.

Derek Summerfield, an honorary senior lecturer at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry and campaigner against what he called Israeli physicians’ violations of human rights, says he wanted to know what part doctors played in the circumstances of Jaradat’s death. “By Israel’s own admission, Jaradat was seen by Israeli doctors 2 days earlier and they found him in good health. The key medical ethical question is what were these doctors examining him for, if not to assess whether he could withstand torture”, he tells The Lancet. “This is precisely what the campaign regarding medical collusion with torture in Israel was launched for in 2009 and it continues to run.”

The IMA said in a statement: “The IMA vociferously objects to the claim that medical professionals are involved in torture or abuse, and we will continue to do everything possible with the tools available to us to inform doctors about their obligation to report and to conduct themselves appropriately.”

The IMA and human rights organisations have called for responsibility for prisoners’ health to be taken away from the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and given to an outside body, such as health maintenance organisations (HMO) or the health ministry, which a year ago set up a standing committee to which doctors can report suspicions of torture. “It’s true that every doctor has a conflict of interest between the patient and the system in the HMOs and also in the army”, Avinoam Reches, who heads the IMA’s Ethics Board, told Ha’aretz newspaper. “But in the case of the IPS, the problem is severe because the treatment is given to people who have no freedom of choice whatsoever.”

Palestinians and human-rights groups demanded an independent investigation into Jaradat’s death.

The Lancet, founded in 1823, is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal and enjoys a high a world-wide reputation. It was the first to publish an estimate of how many people had died killed as a consequence of the invasion of the 2003   invasion of Iraq —around one hundred thousand— and published further estimates of the numbers being killed including by suicide bombings.

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