The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel yesterday released a 29-page report dealing with the behavior of the police and the General Security Service towards Israeli Arabs taken into custody during last October's riots.
The PCATI submitted the report to the Or Commission of Inquiry and urged it to investigate the issue during its deliberations.
According to the report, "the affidavits and the other information collected by the PCATI reveal that the police, the GSS and other authorities grossly violated the basic human rights of persons in their custody after their detention during the events of September-October 2000. In particular, the following rights were infringed: the right not to be subject to torture or to other forms of cruel, inhuman or humiliating punishment; the right to due process of law; and the right of children to special treatment and protection."
The committee wrote that the underlying cause of the alleged violence towards Israeli Arabs lies in "the racist prejudices rife in the Jewish sector in IsraelA racist and hostile attitude toward the Palestinian minority in Israel runs like a thread through all the findings quoted here."
It is difficult to imagine the personnel of the police, GSS or other authorities acting with such gross violence, abuse, humiliation and infringement of rights toward Jewish detainees. It is difficult to fully understand such behavior, and it will surely be impossible to end it, without appreciating that, for the police and the GSS personnel, the fact that detainees are Arabs or Palestinians seems to unleash a response legitimizing the inhuman treatment of these detainees."
The report gave some examples of the verbal abuse of the detainees by security officials, to illustrate the racist attitudes, including the following: "Filthy Arabs." "You're a terrorist, a son of a dog, a filthy Arabeven dogs hate the Arabs." "Start praying, say 'Allahu Akbar,' because we're going to kill you in ten minutes."
The report accused the police of using violence in interrogations, infringing on the dignity of the detainees and violating the rights of their relatives. It wrote that the GSS also used violence and that detention facilities were filthy and humiliating.