Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, the
torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinian
prisoners has been widespread and part of the official policy of the
Israeli army and security apparatuses. The degree and forms of torture
have varied throughout the years, but the policy of torture has been
systematic and legitimized by Israel's judicial system and government.
Israel has continuously attempted to justify the use of torture to the
international community and to absolve itself of criminal responsibility
in this regard in various ways, foremost of which are the
of 1987. The Landau Commission
claimed to restrict the use of torture, but approved the use of
"moderate" physical pressure and "non-violent psychological pressure"
during the interrogation of Palestinian detainees.
The Israeli General Security Services (GSS or Shabak) has applied both
physical and psychological torture against Palestinian prisoners since
the beginning of the 1967 occupation, seemingly without the need for
legal justification. This was enabled by Israel's designation of the
Palestinian Territories as being under 'exceptional' circumstances, thus
justifying the need for "protective defense policies" and the need to
conduct "effective investigations" in order to ensure security. In cases
that Israel practiced torture against Palestinian prisoners, explanations
and justifications have been based on the necessity of torture due to
this "exceptional circumstance". This is in direct violation of the UN
, to which Israel is a signatory, particularly
Article 2 (2):
This is also in violation of Article 16 of the same convention, which
Convention Against Torture
"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of
war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other
public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
11"1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent