TORTURE IN ISRAELI PRISONS
By Rev. Ted Pike
22 Aug 12
Recent video of an Israeli soldier kicking a small Palestinian child is a continuing reminder that, behind its smiling mask, Israel has a sordid record of brutally torturing Palestinian men, women, and even children so unfortunate as to be in Israeli prisons. In this detailed, impeccably documented report from Aug. 29, 2007, I show you what really happens behind Israel's prison walls.
Today, more than 8,000 Palestinians are locked in Israel ’s
prisons, most without due process. For the majority, their crime
is resisting a nation that violently stole 90 percent of their parents’ and
grandparents’ land and possessions and expelled them to wretched
detention camps in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon. (See, The
Simple Explanation for Mid-East Strife) These sons and grandsons
were imprisoned for crimes ranging from stone-throwing at Israeli
tanks to violent terrorist activity. As prisoners, they have virtually
no rights. Many are held without charge or trial. They can
be legally tortured without restraint.
Since at least 1967, the government of Israel has vehemently denied that it uses
torture, and Israel signed the 1987 Landau Agreement banning most forms of torture.
1 But in 1995 a secret government report (not released until 2000) admitted Israel
does torture. 2 In 1999 Israel 's Supreme Court ruled that torture can be employed
as a "necessity" in exceptional cases when officers have reason to
believe they can prevent a crime. This has created a loophole, exempting
interrogators/torturers from punishment as long as they claim they tortured in
the national interest. 3
Since every Palestinian prisoner may be viewed as possessing information
valuable to preventing terrorist attacks, virtually all have been
tortured. The Palestine Monitor (www.palestinemonitor.org)
reports that since 1987 the Israeli Security Agency has tortured
at least 850 Palestinians a year during interrogations. Since
the Supreme Court ruling in 1999, according to the Israeli human
rights organization B'Tselm, 85 percent of Palestinian prisoners
are still subjected to torture. The Monitor asserts that during the
first Intifada (1987-1993), Israeli security “interrogated
approximately 23,000 Palestinians.” The Public Committee
Against Torture (PCAT) estimates that almost all suffered some torture
during interrogation. 4
The Palestine Monitor says that methods of interrogation and torture
frequently used by Israeli security service include:
- Tying up detainees in painful positions for hours or days.
- Containment in tiny cramped spaces (for days, prisoners have
been stuffed in boxes about 2 feet square and 5 feet high, often
with spiked floors).
- Prolonged beatings.
- Enclosing the detainee's head in a sack (often soaked with urine
- Violent “shaking” (Physicians for Human Rights says
this has caused brain damage, even death). 5
- Bending body in extremely painful positions.
- Prolonged exposure to extreme cold or heat.
- Sexual, verbal, and psychological abuse.
- Threats against the individual’s life or family members’ lives.
- Playing extremely loud music.
- Choking and pulling out hair (prisoners have been forced to
- Intentional tightening of handcuffs (According to Amnesty International,
the handcuffs used by the Israeli Security forces are in themselves
a form of torture, “…the plastic handcuffs tighten
on the detainee's wrist, causing intense pain; former detainees
describe their wrists becoming blue as a result of their tightening
and adult men screaming with pain as they begged to be taken off.”
- Putting head of prisoner in toilet bowl. 6
Some prisoners are guilty of terrorist acts, including attempted
suicide bombings. As victims of injustice, they have also committed
injustice. Yet international law forbids torturing prisoners, military
or civilian, even to obtain vital information. The Old Testament,
ostensibly respected by Israel 's government, also gives no sanction
to torture, even of Israel 's bitterest enemies. The implicit message
of the Old Testament is that torture is barbaric, unthinkable among
God's chosen people. 7
Israelis Criticize Torture
For five months in 1977, the London Sunday
team worked inside the West Bank, Gaza, and surrounding areas to
investigate evidence of torture. The team recorded 110,000 words
of testimony and found proof of torture “‘…through
the ten years of Israeli occupation since 1967’.” 8
The Times presented the cases of 44 tortured Palestinians. Some
of these cases are included in three chapters of the Encyclopedia
of the Palestine Problem, p. 593-672. 9 They confirm that the
following forms of torture have existed in Israel ’s prison
system since 1967.
- hung by their wrists for long periods.
- beaten extensively, over periods of days and months.
- struck in the genitals, and testicles twisted, squeezed, and
crushed; testicles compressed around an iron ball placed between
- sexually abused - sometimes through “anal assaults,” including
homosexual rape and pushing of bottles up rectums.
- attacked by dogs.
- beaten on soles of feet.
- hosed with icy water, forced to sit in blazing sun for hours.
- penetrated in the penis with a ballpoint pen; metal rods up
urethra, rupturing it.
- exposed, blindfolded, to the wrath of a raging public, pelted
with rocks and bottles at Israeli football games.
- forced to drink urine and allow soldiers to urinate in their
- forced to grasp barbed wire and endure electric shock, having
electrodes attached to various parts of the body and enduring shocks
so powerful they lift the victim off the ground; forced to stand
in electrically charged water.
- hung in crucified position for up to four days in the scorching
- hung by feet and used as punching bags for boxers.
- forced to sit for up to a week with hands over head.
- forced to “run the gauntlet” of beatings by 8 to
- laid on the floor and jumped on by guards.
- dragged by rope around neck.
- beaten and tortured in front of family members, commanded to
rape their daughters.
- crushed under bulldozers.
- blindfolded and hung from helicopter.
In addition, they had:
- their teeth torn out with pliers; false teeth were smashed.
- shards of glass pushed deeply into nostrils.
- a tube pushed up nose with salt water forced into stomach; batons
were jammed in mouth, rupturing throat.
- ribs, bones, and teeth deliberately broken.
Red Cross Describes Torture
In Prisoners of Israel, Israeli civil libertarians Ralph Schoenman
and Mya Shone confirm:
…the pattern of torture repeated by the Sunday
similar to that found in the hundreds of testimonies published
by Israeli lawyers, Felicia Langer and Lea Tsemel, by Palestinian
lawyer Walid Fahoum, as the accounts we have heard from former
…this pattern is documented in the West Bank as early as
1968, one year after the occupation began. Although the International
Red Cross does not make public declarations, it had prepared in 1968
a finding of torture. Its “Report on the Nablus Prison” concludes:
“A number of detainees have undergone torture during interrogation
by the military police. According to the evidence, the torture
took the following forms:
1. Suspension of the detainees by the hands and the simultaneous
traction of his other members for hours at a time until he loses
2. Burns with cigarette stubs.
3. Blows with rods on the genitals.
4. Tying up and blindfolding for days.
5. Bites by dogs.
6. Electric shocks at the temples, the mouth, the chest and testicles.” 10
A report by Amnesty International of August 9, 1982 estimated the
number of detainees in the large prison camp of Ansar at 10,000.
According to the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, the total
number of prisoners amounted to approximately 15,000, including children
and elderly persons…”
As a result, the Encyclopedia of the Palestine
Problem tells us “there
are many thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese who are disabled
as a result of long years of imprisonment and torture.” (p.
Women Don't Escape Torture
After 1967, the number of women incarcerated and tortured grew
One such prisoner, Rasmiya Odeh, says: “The first time they
stripped me and threw me on the floor, the room was full of men --
civilians and soldiers. They laughed at my nakedness and kicked me,
beat me with sticks, punched me all over, especially on the breasts;
my body was covered with bruises. Then they got a wooden stick, not
a smooth one, and pushed it into me to break the hymen. They brought
my father and fiancé to see me. I lost consciousness…
One time, an interrogator, Abu-Hani, sat me on a chair and sat
himself opposite. He put his legs on the chair on either side of
me and boxed me on the ears until I couldn’t hear anymore and
brought in my father and told him to strip and make love to me. “She
isn’t your daughter, she’s your wife, go on, sleep with
her.” My father screamed and they beat him till he lost consciousness.
Blood was pouring from my mouth and nose and I couldn’t hear
anymore. They dragged him unconscious from the room. Another time,
they stripped me and took me to a room where men were suspended from
the ceiling. They handcuffed me to the hooks in the ceiling -- it
was a pulley system which could be raised and lowered- and then chained
my feet to the ground, wide apart, and raised me so only the tips
of my toes touched the ground. They said they had been going to rape
me, but I was too dirty for them and they would instead get some
prisoners who hadn’t seen a woman for a long time." 11
The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem says, “The tortures
recounted in this chapter [such as the above] have been duplicated
en masse on thousands of Palestinian women detainees of all ages.” (p.
Isn't it significant that a number of Israeli torture experts instructed
US interrogators at the US military base of Abu Ghraib in Iraq several
years ago? They taught American soldiers the same torture techniques
used in Israeli prisons. 12 It is also chilling that the Bush administration,
allowing "coercion" torture of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo, uses virtually the same evasive language as Israel. Bill Quigley,
professor of law at Loyola University in New Orleans, says 44 detainees
in Iraq and Afghanistan have died in U.S. captivity, having been
hooded, strangled, gagged, or beaten with blunt objects. 13
All civil liberties/humanitarian groups that monitor Israeli torture
indicate that the Israeli government at every level, from the premier
and Shin Bet (equivalent to our FBI) down to the military police,
colludes with torture. As a result, Ha'aretz says, "It
is no surprise that no Shin Bet interrogators have been found guilty
of torturing a suspect…" 14
Why Should We Care?
In Nazi Germany, Hitler’s SS tortured people “inferior” to
the "master race." Similarly, Israel ’s torture of
Palestinians is fueled by Talmudic teachings which assert that Gentiles
are inferior to the “chosen race” … Jews. (See, The
Talmud: Scalpel that Bleeds the Mideast)
Should torture in Israeli prisons concern us as Americans? What
about the millions of evangelical Christians who staunchly support
The Bible says someday Christians will also be incarcerated in
Israeli prisons. Describing the events of the last days before His
second coming, Christ said, “They will lay their hands on you
and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons…” (Luke
21:12) During this future worldwide Jewish persecution of Christians,
the same penal hellholes that now muffle the screams of thousands
of tortured Palestinians will also cage Christians.
Why would Israel imprison Christians?
For anti-Christian Jewish activists, there is no greater criminal
in history than Jesus Christ. Such Jews believe that, by vilifying
the Pharisees (modern Judaism's greatest guiding lights), Jesus began
an evil trend of suspicion toward Judaism, a movement that New Testament
writers and later church fathers magnified through "anti-Semitic" depiction
of Jews as "Christ killers." Many Jews believe that anti-Semitism
comes from Christianity; they believe the New Testament "blood
charge" that Jews had Christ crucified spawned nearly 2000 years
of living hell for the Jewish people, culminating in the Holocaust.
Foxman: New Testament is Anti-Semitic)
When Sarah Silverman in her film Jesus is
Magic said, “I
hope the Jews did kill Christ. I’d f---ing do it again in a
second," she expressed a historic Jewish point of view: If Jesus
had been smothered in His cradle, a world of Jewish suffering would
have been avoided. Activist Jews of ADL/B’nai B’rith
consider the accusation that the Jews had Christ murdered so evil
they have included it as one of the 14 criteria of anti-Semitism
published by their Office of Global Anti-Semitism in the US State
Department. (See, Global
Hate Crimes Gestapo Being Created) Such “anti-Semitism” is
now a hate crime punishable by the B’nai B’rith hate
laws in Canada with huge fines and even prison. 15
Already, Jewish activists in high places can deport and imprison
those who offend them. At the insistence of B'nai B'rith International,
Holocaust reductionists Ernst Zundel and Germar Rudolph were extradited
from Canada and America and imprisoned in Germany for violating Germany
's B'nai B'rith-inspired "anti-hate" laws.
Knesset can now demand from any nation extradition of those who
publicly question the accuracy of the six-million figure of the Holocaust.
16 If nations accept this request and deport citizens to Israel, such victims may be tried there for "crimes against the Jewish
people" and sent to Israeli prisons where they may be tortured
Knesset is also deliberating legislation that would make it a federal
crime for visiting evangelicals, and even resident Jewish Christians,
to witness publicly for Christ in Israel. 17 Penalty: a year in
an Israeli prison, again possibly facing the same tortures meted
to Palestinians. In the book of Acts, Christians who publicly witnessed
for Christ in the streets of Jerusalem faced imprisonment and possible
flogging (torture). The same is becoming true today.
Ultimately, Christians may be “delivered” from the
nations to Israel for the “crime” of supporting those
who caused the Holocaust -- Jesus and the New Testament writers.
Time for Christians to Suffer
Today, few evangelical Christians have sympathy for Arab suffering. “ Israel
first” evangelicals view Palestinians as Satanically driven
opponents to God’s chosen people, Israel. They consider Israel
the apple of His eye, blessed and intimately guided from above, especially
in military victories. One pastor frankly told me God is really
interested only in the Jews. “He’s pretty much written
off the whole Arab world.” Reflecting this mentality, most
evangelicals pledge themselves to unconditionally support Israel.
Yet when Christ's words are fulfilled and the church suffers imprisonment
and torture at the hands of Jewish leaders, a few believers will
suffer with a clear conscience. They did not assist, but resisted,
the rise of the anti-Christ system that now oppresses them. They
had compassion on its first victims, the Palestinians, as would the
Most imprisoned evangelicals will not have this consolation. They
will remember how they and their fathers blindly encouraged the ascent
of the Great Harlot, Israel, and stopped their ears from hearing
the cries of her victims.
The Palestinians have suffered without mercy or justice from most
evangelicals for at least 60 years. Someday it will be the turn of
evangelicals to scream from undreamed of tortures in Israeli prisons
and also be unheard by a hostile and indifferent world.
1. In his 50-page report, the UN special investigator on
torture, Nigel Rodley said Israel told him, "…that its
law forbade all forms of torture or maltreatment and it was in full
conformity with the 1987 Convention Against Torture which it has
ratified." Yet, he goes on to relate how his investigations
confirmed that practices amounting to torture, such as sleep deprivation,
hooding, and violent shaking, were going on at the same time. Reuters,
March 23, 1997, "UN Investigator Says Israel Tortures Palestinians."
2. "Israel Admits Torture," http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/637293.stm ,
Feb. 9, 2000.
3. Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org, "Memorandum:
Israel 's Second Periodic Report to the Committee Against Torture," May
Fact Sheet of Torture of Palestinians, Aug. 17, 2007. The Monitor
says, "According to Amnesty International, since 2001, Israeli
authorities '….have actually continued and intensified implementation
of a policy of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and
collective punishment against Palestinians…'"
5. " Israel and the Occupied Territories: Shaking as
a Form of Torture. Death in Custody of Abdal Al-Samad Harizat. A
Medicological Report by Physicians for Human Rights, October 1995," http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/documents/reports/israel-and-the-occupied.pdf.
Fact Sheet of Torture of Palestinians, Aug. 17, 2007.
7. The altruism of the Old Testament toward one's vanquished
enemies is revealed in II Kings 6:22: "Would you kill those
you have taken captive? Set bread and water before them that
they may eat and drink and return." As a result of Israel 's
kindness to a captured invading foe, "marauding bands of Arameans
did not come again into the land of Israel."
8. Schoenman and Shone, Prisoners of
Israel, Santa Barbara,
CA, Veritas Press, 1984, p.13.
9. Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, Intercontinental
Books, Nov. 1991. Edited by Christian Palestinian lawyer and diplomat
Dr. Issa Nakhleh, this 2-volume work is available at most university
10. Prisoners of Israel, p. 594.
11. Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, p. 646.
12. Columnist Wayne Madsen writes, "According to a political
appointee within the Bush administration and U.S. intelligence sources,
the interrogators at Abu Ghraib included a number of Arabic-speaking
Israelis… who also helped U.S. interrogators develop the 'R21'
(resistance to interrogation) techniques. Many of the torture
methods were developed by the Israelis over many years of interrogating
Arab prisoners in the occupied West Bank and in Israel itself." www.counterpunch.org, "The
Israeli Torture Template: Rape, Feces and Urine," August 17,
13. "Priests Expose Secret Cycle of U.S. Torture," Brenda
Aug. 13, 2007.
14. www.haaretz.com, "Torture
in Israel Has Again Become Routine," Aug. 18, 2003. The Palestine
Committee against Torture concludes, "….not a single
GSS interrogator has been brought to trial since 1994," PCAP,
Sept. 2004, cited by the Palestinian Monitor.
15. I asked a friend in Toronto what would happen if he publicly
stated that the Jews had Christ killed. "Ted," he
replied, "I'd be playing with fire. The police might come
and arrest me."
16. On June 20, 2004 the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel
's Knesset empowered the State of Israel to criminalize anyone in
the world who publicly reduces the six-million figure. The government
is now authorized to request extradition to Israel of such alleged "hate
criminals" from any nation. Israel can also seize, prosecute,
and imprison them should they set foot in Israel.
17. Since 1977, Israel 's anti-missionary law has decreed 5 years
in prison for any non-Jew who attempts to convert a Jew from his
religion, making use of a material enticement (tract, cup of coffee,
etc.). This law has not been strictly enforced out of fear of
losing evangelical favor and tourist dollars. Israeli law also requires
a 6-month prison term for anyone, Gentile or Jew, encouraging conversion
of a Jewish minor. This spring, the Shas party (equal in votes
to Likud) proposed that attempts to convert a Jew of any age in Israel
should be punished by 1 year in prison. "Shas Seeks Harsher
Penalties for Missionaries," Mar. 14, 2007, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3376215,00.html.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
watch dog organization.
Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they
have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
Learn how ADL took away free speech in Canada and wants to steal
it now in the U.S. Congress. Watch Rev. Ted Pike's Hate
Laws: Making Criminals of Christians at video.google.com. Purchase
this gripping documentary to show at church. Order online at www.truthtellers.org for
$24.90, DVD or VHS, by calling 503-853-3688, or at the address below.
TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on this
topic. Call (503) 631-3808.
National Prayer Network, P.O. Box 828, Clackamas,