American Muslims for Jerusalem
PO Box 12015
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 548-0913
Fax: (202) 548-0914
E-mail: [email protected]
Ending culture of torture requires real action
Washington, DC (September 8)- American Muslims have grave concerns about the continued use of torture against Muslim and Christian Palestinians. Despite Monday's ruling by Israel's Supreme Court, we believe the culture of torture is too deeply ingrained in Israeli society and will not be eliminated through half-hearted judicial prohibitions.
This belief is based on several factors:
- Torturers are already being given a wink and a nod by justices who say that even when a torturer is prosecuted "a court might accept the argument that physical force was necessary." (Associated Press, 9/6/99)
- Israeli lawmakers now say they will introduce legislation to bypass the ruling. This legislation has the support of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. (Associated Press, 9/8/99)
- Torture of Palestinians is so routine and systematic that it will not be eliminated in
one stroke any more than a U.S. Supreme Court decision eliminated segregation.
Just as laws allowing freedom of the press were not implemented in the former Soviet Union, a prohibition against torture in Israel will only be effective when Israelis begin to view Palestinians as human beings deserving internationally-recognized human rights. Only real action such as the reassignment of current interrogators to other duties and allowing the presence of international observers charged with enforcing human rights laws at questioning sessions will demonstrate a sincere effort at reform.