Annual Report: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 2011

Around 680 Palestinian prisoners continued to be denied family visits, some for a third year, because Palestinians in Gaza remained barred from traveling into Israel, where the prisoners are held, since the imposition of the Gaza blockade.

Unfair trials

Palestinians in the OPT subject to Israel's military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.

  • A.M., a 15-year-old Palestinian from Beit Ummar village near Hebron, was arrested on 26 May, held in Gush Etzion detention centre, interrogated for six days allegedly using torture, then released after he "confessed" to throwing stones. He said security officials attached an electric cable to his genitals and threatened to give him electric shocks. In August, two NGOs, one Palestinian and the other Israeli, filed complaints to the Israeli police and army about his alleged torture. The police complaint was closed on the ground of "insufficient evidence", while the army was still reviewing the complaint at the end of 2010.

Freedom of expression and association

There was an increase in the number of arrests, trials and imprisonment of people engaged in non-violent protests against the fence/wall. Frequently, the authorities resorted to Military Order 101, which forbids a gathering of 10 or more people "for a political purpose or for a matter that could be interpreted as political" unless a permit is first obtained from an Israeli military commander.

  • In October, an Israeli military court sentenced Abdallah Abu Rahma to one year in prison. A teacher and head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in, he was found guilty of "organizing and participating in an illegal demonstration" and "incitement". He was acquitted of "stone-throwing" and "possession of arms". He was a prisoner of conscience.
  • Former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu was returned to prison in May for three months on charges of having had contact with a foreign national. Almost immediately, he was put in solitary confinement. He was a prisoner of conscience. He had previously spent 18 years in jail for revealing Israel's nuclear capability to a British newspaper. Since his release in 2004, he has been subject to police supervision under the terms of a military order, renewed every six months. Among other things, the order bans him from communicating with foreigners or leaving the country. In October 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition to overturn the restrictions.

Prisoners of conscience - Israeli conscientious objectors

At least 12 Israeli conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned.

  • Shir Regev, from Tuval village in northern Israel, was imprisoned three times for a total of 64 days for refusing to perform military service as he opposes Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.