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Jerusalem 3239/Section 2

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PAGE 01 JERUSA 03239 02 OF 07 010735Z
ACTION SS-25

INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SSO-00 /026 W
041417 010751Z /13/73

R 301108Z NOV 78
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2237
INFO AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV

SECRET SECTION 2 OF 7 JERUSALEM 3239

STADIS//////////////

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CORRECTED COPY (STADIS ADDED)

SUMMARY: DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN MARCH 1977 AND NOVEMBER 1978, THE POST HAS ASSEMBLED A BODY OF FIRST-HAND TESTIMONY INDICATING THAT ISRAELI TORTURE OF ARAB PRISONERS MAY BE A SYSTEMATIC PRACTICE. IN CONTRAST TO GOI [1] AVOWALS THAT ANY INCIDENTS OF BRUTALITY ARE RARE, ABERRANT, AND UNTYPICAL, THESE REPORTS DEPICT A GRADED SYSTEM OF PHYSICAL PRESSURES APPLIED IN CONFORMITY WITH CERTAIN FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA -- A SYSTEM REQUIRING FAR-REACHING ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATION. FURTHERMORE, THE INFORMATION CASTS CONSIDERABLE DOUBT ON GOI'S CONTENTION THAT CLAIMS OF BRUTALITY ARE CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED, INSTEAD PORTRAYING THE MILITARY COURTS AND MILITARY ADMINISTRATION AS SUPPRESSING SUCH CLAIMS AND ACTING TO PREVENT THEIR INVESTIGATION. THIS MATERIAL SUBSTANTIALLY GOES BEYOND THE FINDINGS OF LAST YEAR'S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON ISRAELI PRACTICES IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, AND IS SUBMITTED AS PART OF THE POST'S EFFORT TO KEEP THE DEPARTMENT AND EMBASSY TEL AVIV INFORMED OF HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES IN THE WEST BANK. END SUMMARY.

1. THE DRAFTER OF THIS REPORT IS ALEXANDRA JOHNSON, VICE

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CONSUL, POST VISA OFFICER, AND IS BASED ON HER INTERVIEWS WITH VISA APPLICANTS DURING THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 1977 TO NOVEMBER 1978.

2. THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION. BETWEEN MARCH 1977 AND NOVEMBER 1978, JERUSALEM HAS PROCESSED TWENTY-NINE VISA CASES IN WHICH THE APPLICANT HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR A "SECURITY OFFENSE," I.E. AN ACT WHICH THE ISRAELI AUTHORITIES DEEM RESISTANCE TO THE OCCUPATION. THE CONSULAR OFFICER INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED IN CONNECTION WITH THESE CASES PRODUCED CONSIDERABLE INFORMATION BEARING ON THE ISSUE OF TORTURE OF ARAB PRISONERS. THE FIRST FIFTEEN CASES WERE BRIEFLY SYNTHESIZED IN REFTEL A, [2] AND THE WRITTEN STATEMENTS PREPARED BY THIS INITIAL GROUP OF APPLICANTS, TOGETHER WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUE, WERE PRESENT [sic] IN REFTEL B. [3] POST IS SENDING BY ACCOMPANYING AIRGRAM A DETAILED REPORT OF CONSULAR OFFICER INTERVIEWS WITH THE REMAINING FOURTEEN APPLICANTS.[4] TAKEN TOGETHER, THE TWENTY-NINE CASES PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT BASE TO ATTEMPT AN EVALUATION OF THE WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE ABUSES WHICH THE APPLICANTS REPORT -- PARTICULARLY THE POSSIBLE ROLE OF GOI IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE WIDESPREAD PRACTICE OF BRUTALITY IN THE INTERROGATION OF ARAB POLICAL PRISONERS.

3. INTERROGATION AS A SYSTEM. ALL TWENTY-NINE APPLICANTS CLAIMED THAT THEY HAD BEEN BEATEN OR OTHERWISE TORTURED DURING THE INTERROGATION SESSIONS WHICH FOLLOWED THEIR ARREST. ALTHOUGH THEIR STATEMENTS ARE VIVID AND INDIVIDUAL IN CHARACTER, THERE ARE CERTAIN BASIC UNIFORMITIES AND PATTERNS WHICH CHARACTERIZE THESE DESCRIPTIONS OF INTERROGATIONS. IT IS POSSIBLE TO DISCERN A GRADED SYSTEM OF PRESSURES APPLIED IN CONFORMITY WITH CERTAIN FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA.

4. THE APPLICANTS DESCRIBE THEIR INTERROGATORS AS UNSING [sic]

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TECHNIQUES OF VARYING SEVERITY. HOWEVER, CERTAIN TECHNIQUES SEEM TO BE ASSOCIATED, APPEARING TOGETHER IN THE INDIVIDUAL INTERROGATIONS OF A NUMBER OF APPLICANTS, AND THRE [sic] APPEAR TO BE SEVERAL SUCH SETS OF TECHNIQUES. IN SIXTEEN OF THE TWENTY-NINE STATEMENTS, THE INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES ARE DESCRIBED IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL TO DETERMIN [sic] WHICH SET OF TECHNIQUES WAS USED FOR THE INTERROGATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL, AND WHETHER A SHIFT FROM ONE SET OF TECHNIQUES TO ANOTHER OCCURRED. ON THE BASIS OF THESE SIXTEEN STATEMENTS, THE INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES DESCRIBED MAY BE SEPARATED INTO THREE LEVELS OF INCREASING SEVERITY:

-- LEVEL ONE: BEATING WITH FISTS, BEATING WITH STICKS ON THE HEAD AND TORSO;

-- LEVEL TWO: IMMERSION IN COLD WATER, BEATING WITH WHIPS, BEATING THE GENTIALS WITH HANDS AND STICKS; INTERROGATION WHILE NUDE, SHACKLED IN AWKWARD POSITIONS;

-- LEVEL THREE: REFRIGERATION, USE OF ELECTRICITY, HANGING BY THE HANDS OR FEET, EXTREME FORMS OF SEXUAL SADISM; INTERROGATION ACCOMPANIED BY STARVATION, ENFORCED SLEEPLESSNESS. APPLICANTS' STATEMENTS PORTRAY FIVE INDIVIDUALS INTERROGATED AT LEVEL ONE, SIX AT LEVEL TWO, AND THREE AT LEVEL THREE. IN ONE CASE IT SEEMS THAT AN INTERROGATION BEGUN AT LEVEL ONE WAS COMPLETED AT LEVEL TWO, AND IN ANOTHER, THAT AN INTERROGATION BEGUN AT LEVEL TWO WAS COMPLETED AT LEVEL THREE.

5. APPLICANTS ALSO DESCRIBE INTERROGATIONS AS VARYING IN INTENSITY. ONE APPLICAN [sic] SAID THAT ONCE EVERY SEVERAL DAYS HE HAD AN INTERROGATION SESSION LASTING LESS THAN AN HOUR. MOST OFTEN, APPLICANTS SPOKE OF BEING INTERROGATED ONCE OR TWICE DAILY, THE INTERROGATION SESSIONS EACH LASTING SEVERAL HOURS. TWO APPLICANTS SAID THAT THEY HAD BEEN SUBJECTED TO CONTINOUS INTERROGATION, NOT BEING PERMITTED TO REST OR SLEEP OVER A PERIOD OF SOME DAYS, DURING WHICH A NUMBER OF INTERROGATORS

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WERE QUESTIONING AND BEATING THEM. APPLICANTS SAID THAT THEY WERE INTERROGATED OVER PERIODS OF ONE TO FORTY DAYS. THEIR STATEMENTS SHOW FROM ONE TO SEVEN INTERROGATORS AND SOLDIERS PARTICIPATING IN ANY GIVEN INTERROGATION SESSION. (SEE PARA 12) THUS, THE MORE INTENSE THE INTERROGATION -- WITH REGARD TO THE FREQUENCY AND LENGTH OF THE SESSIONS, THE LENGTH OF THE ENTIRE INTERROGATION PERIOD, AND THE NUMBER OF INTERROGATORS AND SOLDIERS PARTICIPATING -- THE HEAVIER THE DRAIN ON PERSONNEL.

6. INTERROGATION AND CHARGES. WHY IS A GIVEN SECURITY CASE INTERROGATED AT A PARTICULAR LEVEL OF SEVERITY AND INTENSITY? WHILE THE VARIATIONS DESCRIBED BY THE APPLICANTS CANNOT BE FULLY EXPLAINED BY A SINGLE FACTOR, THERE DOES APPEAR TO EXIST A BROAD CORRELATION BETWEEN THE SEVERITY AND INTENSITY OF THE INTERROGATION AND THE GRAVITY OF THE CHARGES WHICH THE INTERROGATORS ARE INVESTIGATING. (THE INTERROGATORS' CONCERNS MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM THE CHARGES ULTIMATELY BROUGHT AGAINST THE ACCUSED IN COURT.) THE APPLICANTS THEMSELVES PERVEIVE [sic] SUCH A CORRELATION. FOR EXAMPLE, AFTER A VISA ISSUANCE, ONE APPLICANT ADMITTED TO THE CONSULAR OFFICER THAT HIS INTERROGATION HAD RESULTED IN PERMANENT PHYSICAL DAMAGE, WHILE ANOTHER ADMITTED THAT HIS INTERROGATION HAD LAST [sic] NOT FOR EIGHT DAYS, AS HE HAD ORIGINALLY STATED, BUT FOR THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS. BOTH SAID THAT IN THEIR INITIAL CONSULAR OFFICER INTERVIEWS THEY HAD DELIB- ERATELY MINIMIZED THEIR SUFFERING, LEST THE CONSULAR OFFICER CONCLUDE, ON THE BASIS OF THE SEVERITY AND INTENSITY OF THE INTERROGATIONS, THAT THEY WERE GUILTY OF SERIOUS CRIMES.

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NotesEdit

  1. Government of Israel
  2. Referenced telegram A, Jerusalem 1500
  3. Airgram Jerusalem A-13
  4. Jerusalem A-19
 

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).