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IDF Denies Rights Group Report That It Tortures Palestinians

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The Israel Defense Force has denied a report by an American human rights monitoring organization claiming Israeli interrogators torture Palestinian detainees to obtain confessions of wrongdoing.

An IDF spokesman issued a statement last week stating that the use of torture or violence against detainees is forbidden under Israeli law. He added that any confession obtained by such means would be inadmissible as evidence.

The denial was issued in reply to a report published earlier in the week by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, which charged “a systematic pattern of ill-treatment and torture” in the Israeli handling of Palestinian detainees.

In issuing the denial, the IDF spokesman stressed the safeguards already in place to prevent such mistreatment and added that the number of complaints has been minimal.

But Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, who was questioned last week about the human rights report, acknowledged that Israel had probably committed human rights violations during its 27 years of administering the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“I do not believe there is anywhere a benevolent occupier,” Beilin said. “I do not believe that Israel has been a benevolent occupier.

“I am sure that during the occupation of the territories there were deeds which are regrettable, and the only way to put an end to them is to withdraw eventually from the territories as a part of the permanent solution,” he said.

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