Palestinian Prisoners And Israel’s Shin Bet
By Eileen Fleming
25 February, 2013
After a 30-year-old Palestinian died while in custody and a hunger strike by four other inmates sparked a week of West Bank protests, Palestinians are calling for an international investigation of Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinians.
The death of Arafat Jaradat on Saturday raised recurrent questions about Israel’s Shin Bet [Internal Security Service] because Jaradat was healthy at the time of his arrest last week.
Israeli officials claim Jaradat died of an apparent heart attack and has denied he was beaten or subjected to any treatment that could have led to his death.
In protest, several thousand Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons observed a one-day fast on Sunday which is expected to spur more Palestinian demonstrations that will shine a light on Israeli SECURITY and Prison System.
The AP reported that the Shin Bet arrested Jaradat last Monday because residents in his village of Saeer said he was involved in a rock-throwing attack that injured an Israeli. The Shin Bet claim Jaradat admitted to the charge, as well as to another West Bank rock-throwing incident last year.
The Shin Bet also claims that during Jaradat’s interrogation, he was examined several times by a doctor who detected no health problems.
On Saturday, Jaradat was in his cell and after lunch felt unwell and an official statement claims thay “Rescue services and a doctor were alerted and treated him, they didn’t succeed in saving his life.” 
Israel’s main forensics institute is to perform an autopsy with a Palestinian physician in attendance.
Issa Karake, a Palestinian official who handles prisoner issues has called for an independent international investigation of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has also demanded an investigation, including how Jaradat was questioned.
The Shin Bet routinely holds detainees in isolation for extended periods during interrogation, keeps them in cells that are lit around the clock and denies them access to lawyers.
Around 700 complaints have been filed about mistreatment by Shin Bet agents over the past decade, but none have led to a criminal investigation.
On January 5, 2006, I traveled to Ramallah to the Headquarters of ADAMEER [Arabic for conscience] and met with spokesmen, Ala Jaradat a slightly built man who delivered a powerful message in a soft spoken voice:
“Since 1967, 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested and detained. That totals 20% of the total population and 80% of all adult Palestinian males have been arrested.
“Most of these arrests occur after midnight when large numbers of IDF storm into neighborhoods or refugee camps, horrifying everyone and arresting anyone 14 years or older. Sometimes they storm into business offices and arrest the breadwinners of the families without any charges.
“These arrests and detentions are based on military orders; we live under a kind of Marshall Law which rules every aspect of Palestinian life: where we live, our license plates that restrict our movement and limited voting rights. Under these military orders the Israeli government is free to hold anyone eight days without accusations or charges. They can hold anyone up to 180 days for interrogation and up to 60 days without benefit of a lawyer.
“The Israeli government never agreed to the Second Geneva Convention, the Knesset never ratified it, and when it comes to the Occupied Territories they totally ignore it. Israel is the only State that approved torture of detainees. I know there are dictators who use torture, but Israel is the only State that supported torture until 1999. That is when International, Israeli and Palestinian pressure groups forced the issue and Barack was confronted about it when he visited the United States.
“The IDF will round up and arrest family members and use threats against their relatives to force confessions. The interrogations lead to Military Trials which is theoretically like court with three Judges presiding but only one is required to have an education and a law degree is not at all necessary. The Military Commander appoints the translators, issues all orders, assigns the judges, and has total control. One appeal is allowed, but if the judges are settlers the Palestinian is in deep SH#T!
“Administrative Detentions are issued by the Military Commander for a period of six months and the reason is always labeled ‘Security’ and the charges can be renewed indefinitely.
“One Palestinian spent eight years under Administrative detention and hundreds have endured four or more years. Today fifty are being held for the past four years. They may be released for a day or two and then they are rearrested because they are social or political activists but reasons are not given by the Israeli government.
“At any given moment 10% of those in prison are under Administrative Detention. There are currently 8,000 prisoners and 800 of them are under Administrative Detention. The government does not have to inform anyone about these arrests except the Red Cross and only if they are imprisoned over two weeks, but most arrests go unreported.
“Any Palestinian under the age of 16 is tried as an adult, but for an Israeli Jew it is 18 years of age. Under 12 years old the child can be arrested but not detained. Over 12 they can be arrested, detained, interrogated, prosecuted and sentenced for throwing stones.
“Most of the Israeli Jews that are imprisoned are in for violent crimes against society and they are mixed in with the Palestinian population. The guards encourage them to do what ever they want to do against the Palestinian population. This is an open invitation by the Israeli government to incite violence and terror in the prison system. We have sworn affidavits from Palestinians claiming it was the guards who encouraged the violence inflicted upon them.
“In August 2004 the Palestinians went on a hunger strike to raise awareness of this problem and the Minister of Health who is responsible for them stated publicly: ‘Our hospitals are off limits to them They can all starve themselves to death.’
“No human rights organizations are allowed access to the prisoners. Only lawyers and the Red Cross can visit them but have no access to the facilities where they are detained.
“The methods and photos from Abu Grahib and Guantanamo were no shock to any Palestinian who had been in prison between 1967 and the ‘80’s. All the methods used in Abu Grahib were normal procedures against Palestinians. In 1999 Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis for human rights threatened a boycott against Israel and that is what forced the Supreme Court to address the torture issue. They did not ban torture and the General Prosecutor can choose not to prosecute those who still use it.” 
2. THIRD INTIFADA: NONVIOLENT But With Words Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword by Eileen Fleming
Eileen Fleming is Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu” Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010
Her blog is http://www.eileenfleming.org