The Israeli human right organization B’Tselem this week accused interrogators with the Israel Defense Force and the General Security Service of routinely using torture against Palestinian detainees.
The group called on the government to ban such mistreatment, and warned that the abuse could breed more violence.
B’Tselem issued a report Wednesday that cited the testimonies of nine Palestinian detainees and the proceedings of four court hearings.
B’Tselem, which monitors human rights abuses in the territories, said the methods of torture employed by Israeli security forces included beatings, verbal abuse and prolonged deprivation of sleep and food.
The authors of the report rejected the argument that the recent wave of Islamic fundamentalist terror against Israelis justifies the use of torture.
“Innocent people arrested for long weeks and tortured harshly go out with a lot of bitterness and anger,” said Yuval Ginbar, one of the report’s authors. “When you torture people, the benefit is not unequivocal.”
Responding to the B’Tselem charges, an IDF spokesman issued a statement pointing out that violence or threats of violence against detainees in army prisons is strictly forbidden.
The spokesman added that regular checks are made to insure that standing orders regarding interrogation methods are followed. He said that any complaints made to the army are thoroughly investigated, with severe punishments meted out to anyone found guilty of violating the orders.