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World must take action to stop Israel’s systematic torture of Palestinians: NGO

This file photo shows Israeli forces at a detention facility.

Israel must be held accountable for its systematic torture of Palestinian inmates, a non-governmental organization based in the occupied territories has said.

The Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, also known as ‘Miftah,’ which was established in 1998 as an independent Palestinian civil society institution, issued a report on Sunday to mark the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture, detailing various forms of ill-treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli prison authorities.

Palestinian inmates are denied basic human rights and continue to languish behind bars. Israel continues to violate international law regarding the treatment of prisoners, the report said.

“Despite the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment under international law, Israeli occupying forces and prison authorities employ various torture and ill-treatment techniques against almost all Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, including women and children, leaving grave physical and psychological damage.”

Those torture techniques include prolonged stress positions, beatings, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, deliberate medical negligence, physical and verbal sexual abuse, force-feeding, humiliation and threat on family members.

“Israeli prison authorities, occupying forces and interrogators feel emboldened to commit such acts of torture with full impunity knowing that neither the complicit Israeli legal system nor the international community will hold them accountable.”

A large number of Palestinian prisoners are also being held in Israeli jails without any charge or trial under the so-called administrative detention where incarceration periods can be renewed indefinitely.

“Israel also extensively uses administrative detention to detain hundreds of Palestinians for indefinite periods of time with no charge or trial based on ‘secret charges,’ something Palestinian human rights organization Addameer has identified as a cruel form of psychological torture,” the report read.

Advocacy groups describe Israel’s use of the detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to end its use.

Latest figures show the Israeli regime has arrested over one million Palestinians, including women and children, since 1967.

Elsewhere in the report, Miftah demanded an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the Israeli crimes and its systematic torture of Palestinians.

Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. They have also been subject to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

According to the Palestine Detainees Studies Center, about 60% of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails suffer from chronic diseases, a number of whom died in detention or after being released due to the severity of their cases.

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