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IDF official slams Australian report suggesting Palestinian kids were tortured


My colleague Tamar Sternthal published a superb response at CAMERA to wild allegations in a Feb. 10th Australia Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners” report concerning the alleged torture of Palestinian children during interrogation.  

Here’s an excerpt:

“Simply fictitious,” responded a senior Israel Defense Forces official when asked about allegations leveled in a Feb. 10, 2014 Australia Broadcasting Corporation “Four Corners” report concerning brutal torture of Palestinian children during interrogations.

In contravention of journalistic codes of ethics, reporter John Lyons never gave Israeli officials the opportunity to respond specifically to the alleged instances of extreme abuse described. CAMERA, therefore, checked with Israeli authorities, reaching a high-level official intimately knowledgeable about the minors interviewed in the “Stone Cold Justice” broadcast.

One of them, Fathi Mahfouz, who was arrested on April 10, 2013 at the age of 15, and held for 82 days, claimed on camera that during his interrogation he had been hung from a cross-like structure for hours and beaten, and had been subjected to hitting and electric batons.

Another child, Qsai Zamara, alleged that his 18-day nightmare at the age of 14 included an interrogation in which he was whipped with a hose and threatened with electrocution.

About these two children, the IDF official stressed that they had never made these claims in court. Mahfouz appeared in court one day after his April 10 arrest, and he returned to court again on April 14 when he entered into a plea bargain, confessing to the crime for which he had been indicted, which was throwing rocks at military vehicles and personnel from a distance of 15 meters during a wide scale demonstration. During these two appearances, he never raised any allegations of being suspended from a cross or being beaten. “The only claim [of abuse] he made in court was on the 14th that the border policeman who arrested him in some way injured him and the court ordered that a protocol of a hearing be sent to the internal affairs office of the police, part of the Justice Ministry, for investigation.”

“Never once did he make a claim regarding his interrogation at any stage,” added the official, who confirmed that Mahfouz was represented by a lawyer in court.

Similarly, Zamara never voiced claims of torture during his court appearances. He was arrested on April 22, 2013, and brought to court the following day for a remand hearing in which he was represented by a lawyer. Three pages of arguments were made on the April 23 hearing, and “never once does he mention the terrible torture he [later said he] was subjected to.” On April 25, he again appeared in court when his indictment was filed. Any alleged torture that took place during interrogations would have happened in this window of time, and yet “never once had Zamara claimed that he had been so viciously attacked or tortured.”

It’s unbelievable that now, 10 months afterwards, he’s making these amazing claims of what happened to him,” stated the incredulous official.

Read the rest of Sternthal’s post, here.

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17 replies »

    • What the f.. happened to the left? Was and is it that depended of the demise and of the Sovietunion that it seeks revenge on Jews for that? That it sinks into anti-Semitic conspiracy junk?
      Burg admits that the BDS boycott is not limited to the DT (disputed territories), but targets Israel at whole:
      “Währenddessen aber kommt die palästinensische BDS-Bewegung (Boycott, divestment, sanctions, Anm.) in Schwung und erreicht langsam einen Wendepunkt, an dem eine Bürgerbewegung von unten auf die offizielle Politik von Regierungen und Parlamenten von oben trifft und Sanktionen gegen Israel zu einem Fait accompli macht. ”

      and supposes that the government is silently supporting Assad:
      “Gleichzeitig versuchen sie in nützlicher diplomatischer Heuchelei alles, um Syriens Ba­shar al-Assad nicht zu schaden oder Ägypten oder einem anderen korrupten Ziel israelischer Außenpolitik. ”

      After Avnery and Langer the EU has a backup, a newcomer for its anti-Semitic policy (politics?).

  1. The Australian Foreign Minister has expressed shock at the ill treatment of children by Israeli personnel. Seems like the government of Australia thinks that ABC has more credibility than CiF Watch.

      • Nat is back again. S/he is able to emit laughable lies without the slightest hesitation without any substance and obviously without any reference.

      • You need to read Aussie media more often. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was “deeply concerned” by reports Israeli armed forces are removing Palestinian children from their homes in night-time raids, following the ABC documentary. To be precise she said: “I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children.” She spoke to Fairfax media and her comments were printed in all Aussie newspapers and commented in all TV reports.

        • www DOT smh DOT com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julie-bishop-deeply-concerned-by-mistreatment-of-palestinian-children-in-tv-report-20140211-32fo6.html

        • The important word that you, for obvious reasons, are ignoring, is “ALLEGATIONS”

          But thank you for bringing the article to my attention it has a number of important statements in it, for example;
          “Unlike the previous Labor government, Ms Bishop has refused to condemn Israeli settlements, and has not altered her position following the airing of the disturbing footage on ABC television on Monday night. Nor would the Foreign Minister commit to registering her concerns directly with the Israeli government.

          She goes on to say;
          “I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,” Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

          Note the word ALLEGATIONS and also that Julie Bishop then adds,
          “The Australian government welcomes Israel’s ongoing efforts to address these issues…”

          The article goes on to add;
          “In November, the Abbott government quietly swung its support further behind Israel at the expense of Palestine, giving tacit approval to controversial activities including the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

          Many within the international community regard the expansion of Israeli settlements as an act of hostility towards Palestinians, hampering the likelihood of peace. But Ms Bishop told an Israeli newspaper recently that she would like to see which international law Israel had broken with the settlements.”

          Once again thank you for bringing this article to my attention. As you did so I take it you also agree with the Australian Government’s position on ‘settlements’ from the same article?

          Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julie-bishop-deeply-concerned-by-mistreatment-of-palestinian-children-in-tv-report-20140211-32fo6.html#ixzz2thmJtJE0

        • You need to read Aussie media more often.
          Why should I read the Australian media at all? I’m not obsessed with Australians like you are with the Jews.

  2. Stumbled across this blog. Amused me to read you definition of antisemitism, particularly the statement given emphasis at the bottom*, and then to read posts like this. The claims of torture made in the Austrialian film may or may not be true, and giving an Israeli spokesperson right of reply would not help establish that. What would help is sensible safeguards designed to protect children in detention, safeguards which also protect those holding them from false claims. This is why civilised nations guarantee access to lawyers for example. Proper due process protects all involved.

    Yet one of the most serious claims in the Australian film is one you ignore – that Palestinian children are not given the same protections under law as Israeli children are. This appears to be a matter of fact rather than say so, and would seem to me to be defacto racism on the part of the Israeli state. This blog should live up to its statements:

    *”we support open and honest debate about the Israel/Palestinian conflict including harsh criticism of Israel as long as the criticism of Israel is similar to that leveled against any other nation of the world.”