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UN committee to grill Israel on torture

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Palestinian woman holds a poster during a rally demanding the release of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails as people mark the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The UN Committee Against Torture is to question Israel on its policies with regard to torture.

Israeli authorities are to appear before the panel over Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a routine procedure implemented by the world body as Tel Aviv has signed the 1991 UN Convention Against Torture.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the committee is to raise with the Israeli authorities such issues as the conditions of Palestinian detainees, including minors, the demolition of Palestinian homes, settler violence against Palestinians, and Israeli investigations of torture complaints.

The authorities representing Israel before the panel are likely to argue that the convention’s jurisdiction does not apply to the West Bank as it is under the military control and not the “full control” of the regime.

The committee refuted the Israeli claim in a 2012 report, saying Tel Aviv was to observe the convention in all the areas “subject to the de jure or de facto control” of the regime.

It said the regime “and its personnel have repeatedly entered and established control over the West Bank and Gaza.”

Israel was established in 1948, when it occupied Palestinian land along with expanses of other Arab territories during full-fledged military operations. The occupied lands also include Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Syria’s Golan Heights.

In 1967, it occupied the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip. It later annexed the West Bank and East al-Quds in a move never recognized by the international community.

Tel Aviv withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but has been keeping the territory under a crippling siege and regular deadly offensives.

Israel’s “obligation to prevent acts of torture or ill-treatment in any territory under its jurisdiction must be interpreted and applied to protect any person, citizen or non-citizen, without discrimination,” the UN’s 2012 report had said.

Israeli forces routinely abduct Palestinians in the West Bank and put them behind bars based on the so-called administrative detention policy.

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows the Tel Aviv regime to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

Over 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly incarcerated in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps, many of them without charge or trial.

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