A Palestinian female freed from Israeli detention said more than 15 fellow Palestinian women were raped by Israeli interrogators to force them to confess to charges leveled against them and collaborate with the Israeli intelligence.
“Israeli investigators and intelligence officers keep video tapes of the raping to blackmail the female detainees. I have been sexually abused and photographed. When I tried to travel to Jordan after my release and Israeli intelligence officer dumfounded my with the humiliating photos.”
She asserted that this techniques has been used for years by the Israeli interrogators against Palestinian detainees. “They have used this raping techniques before my detention and continue to use it until today,” said the Palestinian woman who spent nine years of her life in Israeli detention. She also asserted that Palestinian women shy away from reporting such “disgrace” due to the sensitivity of the conservative Palestinian community. The Israelis also, she added, threaten to widely circulate the rape images if any of us take her complains to the public or the press.
The sexual abuse practices are not restricted to detained Palestinian women alone. In a phone all from an Israeli jail, a Palestinian man told IOL he has not been allowed to put on any cloths since his detention eight months ago. “I haven’t worn my clothes all this period. They (Israeli guards) searched continue to search such around the clock and if we resist they torture us.”
“ Israel , through the Shabak, violates the international convention against the torture which stipulates that all parties should take the necessary legislative, administrative and judicial measures to prevent torture under its jurisdiction,” said a Palestinian human rights researcher.
Shin Bet, also known as the General Security Services or Shabak, is Israel ’s domestic security agency. “The convention clearly states that parties should not exploit extraordinary circumstances, such as war, a threat to wage war or domestic political instability, as pretexts for torture,” Sameh El-Sayehn told IOL.
He asserted that the U.S. soldiers’ sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees in Abu Gharib was simply “a replica of a long-running Israeli practice”. “Shabak has more than 25 different torture techniques to extract confessions from Palestinian detainees,” El-Sayehn said. “The nudity technique used by the Americans against Iraqi detainees is a long time Israeli favorite but unfortunately pictured never surfaced to expose the barbarism and brutality of a country bragging about being a democracy oasis.”
El-Sayeh indicated that Israeli guards “undress Palestinian female detainees and tie them to beds for long periods.” The situation in men prisons is not less humiliating, added the Palestinian researcher. “Palestinian men are held naked in front of each other and Israeli soldiers. Those who refuse to take of their clothes are brutally beaten.”
At least seven thousands Palestinians, including scores of women, are held by Israeli occupation forces in detention centers and jails.
Welcome to the boys’ club
In Israel, being a distinguished soldier may help you get away with rape
| If the undeniable male predominance in politics, the military, and the police force has not yet convinced us that Israel is just one big boys’ club, the Erez Efrati case certainly should. Let’s examine the evidence brought before the court: A sane, adult male was seen by witnesses attempting to brutally rape a woman whom he proceeded to maul and wound when she refused to tell them she was his girlfriend. A sample of his DNA was recovered from her bruised body.
If it seems like an open and shut case, that’s probably because it is. Especially since the defendant, Erez Efrati, admitted after the DNA evidence was revealed that he did commit the act, after having flatly denied it until that point. Throughout the case he showed no remorse for his disturbingly violent act, not even upon confronting his sobbing victim.
However, on Tuesday he was afforded the option of signing a plea bargain reducing his probable prison sentence by four years. Why, we ask? The only likely answer is that Erez Efrati was a commended officer in the IDF, and one of the chief of staff’s bodyguards, all of which seems to mean the State has instilled in him “values” that apparently make him immune to any wrongdoing, and afford him automatic protection from too severe a punishment. It was not the first time the boys’ club had saved an admitted rapist. In an eerily similar case tried in November of 2006, the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced 27-year old Yair Binder, a security guard who admitted to following a young woman up to her apartment and attempting to rape her there, to just six months of civil service.
The court explained its decision by highlighting that Binder had been an “outstanding soldier” and, in light of this, “a man of values and conscience” who merely seemed to have been caught up in “emotional distress”. He was also afforded psychological treatment courtesy of the State and went home happy as a clam.
Bad lesson for our youth
Not only has the case of Erez Efrati caused countless women to lose faith in the court’s ability to punish violent assailants who are so obviously guilty, it has also taught Israel’s young men they can get away with practically anything by working for the security establishment. It is not only the boys’ club that will protect them, but Israeli society’s desperate need to see them as untainted heroes, supermen protecting its members from the numerous harrowing threats that beset Israel on a daily basis.
In actuality, the State would do better to make sure these “heroes” of the defense establishment are adequately punished for their crimes. Firstly, as men commended by the State they are natural choices for examples to be followed by other young men, and secondly, their training affords them combat skills far superior to those possessed by other criminals.
In the case of Erez Efrati, not only will the State be sending a violent, virtually self-admitted rapist back out into the world after a reduced prison sentence, it will be sending out a violent rapist whom it has trained to accurately fire weapons. His next victim might not be so lucky as to receive mere blows.
In addition to this, the State’s excuse for signing a plea bargain with Efrati was that he was drunk out of his mind, which provides our youth with yet another wonderful example to follow – namely that being drunk excuses them from taking responsibility for many of the consequences of their actions.
As to Efrati’s victim, she may have been “spared” by the prosecution the pain of testifying and a possible stain on her reputation, but this seems a moot point. She had already gathered her strength and arrived at the courthouse, willing to undergo this pain for the sake of exposing the truth. Now, instead of walking away with a sense of justice and a stain on her reputation, she is left only with the feeling of a miscarriage of justice and a “DNA” stain left on her by her victorious assailant.