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Brutally Isolating Detainees in Israeli Prisons

Written by Subject: Welfare: Corporate
Brutally Isolating Detainees in Israeli Prisons - by Stephen Lendman

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (called Mezan et al below) June 2011 report headlined, "Solitary Confinement of Prisoners and Detainees in Israeli Prisons" explains harsh and abusive conditions they endure.

For so-called "security prisoners," treatment is especially brutal because of extreme restrictions, including when out of isolation. It affects everyone physically and emotionally, notably after long periods with no human contact.

The report focuses on one type of isolation called "separation," whether for punitive or administrative reasons. Mezan et al calls all forms of isolation "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment...."

As a result, it violates fundamental international laws, including:

-- Geneva's Common Article 3, prohibiting all forms of cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment;

-- the International Covenant Against Torture (CAT), prohibiting it at all times, under all conditions with no allowed exceptions; and

-- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), stipulating that:

"All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person (Article 10.1)."

International laws unequivocally prohibit torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Depriving detainees of human contact violates minimal conditions under which they may be held.

In fact, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that state obligations include protecting the constitutional rights of prisoners, especially to humane treatment and dignity. According to Chief Justice Aharon Barak:

"The walls of the prison do not separate the prisoner from human dignity. Life in prison intrinsically involves a violation of many liberties that a free person enjoys. But life in prison does not require denial of the prisoner's right to bodily integrity or protection against violation of his dignity as a person."

In fact, Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty protects them for everyone, including prisoners.

Types of Solitary Confinement

(1) During interrogation:

It continues throughout the process, regardless of how long. Under Israeli law, it can last 30 days prior to an indictment or as long as authorities wish with the Attorney General's approval. For alleged security offenses, confinement includes harsh procedures, including torture and other forms of abuse.

(2) As a disciplinary measure:

Punitive isolation can be for whatever reasons authorities wish or none at all. Prisoners are held in small cells 24 hours a day with only a bed or mattress on the floor.

(3) Prolonged isolation:

Called "separation," it's for prisoners posing an alleged threat to others interned or threatened by them, or have mental problems severe enough to threaten other inmates.

Mezan et al's report focuses on this type of isolation.

As of December 2010, Israel held about 150 prisoners in solitary confinement, 120 sentenced, the others awaiting it. About two-thirds were held alone, the others with another prisoner. Some have been isolated for years. About 40 are Palestinians.

According to Article 19B of Israel's Prison Ordinance, "separation" isolation is a last resort. However, Israel's Combating Criminal Organization's Law permits it for disciplinary reasons, to prevent violations to prison rules, or for a violent offense.

Keeping inmates isolated for over six months requires district court approval, renewed every six months indefinitely. As a result, prisoners may remain in solitary confinement for years.

However, the UN Committee Against Torture calls the practice cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT), violating CAT's Article 11, requiring State parties to ensure incarceration conditions are systemically reviewed, and Article 16, obligating them to protect prisoners from CIDT procedures.

Moreover, in 1990, the General Assembly declared that isolation should be abolished or rarely used. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights also called prolonged solitary confinement a violation of Article 5(2) of the American Covenant on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, inhuman and cruel treatment of prisoners.

Numerous studies confirmed the effects, including sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, disorientation, confusion, cognitive disorders, and many other humanly destructive ones. For mentally ill prisoners, the effects are devastating. When prolonged for extended periods, mental and/or physical illnesses often result.

In fact, a joint 1996 Israel Prison Service (IPS)/Ministry for Public Security solitary confinement report concluded that:

"Research findings on the issue are unequivocal and show that imprisonment in isolation (for prolonged periods) causes deep psychotic reactions."

Since the 1990s, Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (PHR/I) has campaigned for the abolition of solitary confinement. Moreover, the Israel Psychiatric Association (IPA) agreed that prolonged isolation harms body and mind without stating an official position on the practice.

It argued for the Israel Medical Association (IMA) to decide. Its Ethical Board published a 2009 paper seeking "to balance between the needs of the state to defend its security and the security of prisoners, and the obligation to protect the health and dignity of prisoners."

In other words, though IMA agreed on prolonged isolation's harm, it equivocated on its practice. As a result, it passed the buck unethically to prison authorities in violation of their sworn Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. Physicians are obligated solely to patients, not prison rules or practices.

According to Mezan et al:

"A physician who is complicit in solitary confinement acts in the same improper manner as a physician who is complicit in torture. Both cause great harm to the prisoner, and in both cases, a physician's role is to take every possible measure to prevent their occurrence."

Isolated Palestinian Prisoners

Those held in "separation" solitary confinement remain isolated at least 23 hour a day in cells ranging from 1.5 x 2 meters to 3 x 3.5 meters. They include a toilet and shower.

Prisoners have no eye contact with other prisoners or guards. Whether or not there's a window, almost no natural light or fresh air is gotten. Fluorescent bulbs provide lighting. Most often, television, DVD players and books are allowed, as well as the right to send and receive letters.

Inmates not called "security prisoners" have telephone use for up to one hour a day. Spotty visitation rights are given for first-degree relatives. However, Palestinians rarely ever get permission to travel to Israel, and Gazan prisoners have no visitation rights.

Many inmates are held in detention centers and prisons inside Israel, a clear violation of Fourth Geneva's Article 76, stating:

"Protected persons accused of offenses shall be detained in the occupied territory, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein."

In December 2010, a scathing Israel Bar Association report concluded that isolation conditions "in most of the various Prisons Service facilities do not meet minimal standards and are not suitable for living and certainly not for an unlimited period of time."

Conditions for isolated Palestinians are far more severe than for Israelis. All are classified as "security prisoners" subject to cruel and unusual treatment. Many get no family visits for extended periods, even years, nor have telephone privileges.

In addition, they're denied due process rights, including to compulsory legal representation before courts that rule on whether to extend isolation periods. They also have no access to "secret evidence" or ability to contest it. Overall, they've subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for extended periods up to years.

As a result, Mezan et al concluded that isolation shouldn't be used for any prisoner "for any reason, as it undeniably causes harm to (their) physical and mental health....constitut(ing) illegal and disproportionate punishment and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."

In fact, for Palestinian prisoners, including "security" ones, that's precisely Israel's intent, in violation of fundamental international law and its own.

A Final Comment

On July 21, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) "strongly condemn(ed)" the Israeli Prisons Administration July 20 decision to deny Palestinian prisoners higher education henceforth.

Moreover, PCHR "call(ed) on the international community to (compel) respect international law and (cease) systematic and continued inhumane and degrading treatment of" thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Denying education followed followed Netanyahu's June order to prison authorities to end what he called "advantages granted" Palestinian prisoners. Other measures taken against them include "intensifying searching (them) after forcing them to take off their clothes and placing (their) solitary confinement."

In response, prisoners went on hunger strikes "for sporadic days over the past two months." Hardening already cruel and inhumane practices assures even greater barbaric treatment will be commonplace. It's another way Israel shows disdain for non-Jews, especially Palestinian Muslims.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

7 Comments in Response to

Comment by Friedrich Berg
Entered on:

The "holocaust" is a monstrous Jewish hoax because 1) no one was killed by the Nazis in gas chambers, and because 2) the total number of Jews who died in German-occupied territory from all causes during WW2 is minuscule compared to what is alleged.  Go to my website and learn much more at:

The real  mass murderers, the real genocidal sadists and maniacs were the western Allies--especially the Americans.  The US of A deliberately murdered well over a million totally innocent civilians--women, children, babies--by r-o-a-s-t-i-n-g them to death in countless, carefully orchestrated air attacks using even napalm and finally nuclear weapons.  If the Nazis had ever gassed people to death, that would have been humane by comparison.

Friedrich Paul Berg

Nazi Gassings Never Happened!  Niemand wurde vergast!


Comment by Invade Israhell
Entered on:

Hi, Obama, how much longer do you want to wait, until you are invading the state of evil, torture and racism: Israhell? Go out of Afghanistan and Iraq, make a coalition with Iran, make me the president of your German colony (I am a citizen of the country, that brought the real high culture into the world, means Germany) and let us invade Israhell all together - to protect humanity and the planet earth and defend freedom and liberty for all the good people!!!

Comment by German resistence
Entered on:

Each US citizen that pays taxes is guilty of supporting the Jewish crimes against humanity, because the US is the biggest supporter of Israhell. This is what you are supporting with your tax-money: The Jews are blaming the Germans for crimes against humanity but in the reality they are just doing these crimes by themselves!!! They sold the Africans to the US as slaves, but this is no crime, because the Jews did it, they are torturing and killing the Palestinians, but this is no crime because the Jews are doing it, the are responsible for the Holocaust of the victims of Second-hand smoking because they are deeply involved in the business of big tobacco. There "religious" routs are based on human sacrifices, but this is no crime as long as the Jews are doing it... But if some people want to stop their evil and murderous power so they Jews can not commit this crimes against humanity anymore, then they are screaming like crazy: "We are the only valuable life on planet earth, we can torture and kill everybody we want and sacrifice anybody we want but nobody is allowed to touch us." Wake up people and do not let them manipulate and abuse you anymore. You will find more information about the endless Jewish crimes and mass murder at the website And by the way if you think it will help you to be friendly to the Jews then you might have a very bad awakening one day... like I had... This just encourages them to destroy your life and abuse you!

Comment by Native German
Entered on:

Hi Obama, after you have kicked out all the US citizen (without the real Americans, the Native Americans of course) and gave the US to us, the German victims of the Holocaust made by the JEWS, we will rename the USA into United States of Germans and Native Americans (USGA). So, when can we move in and take over the country and give the Natives their born rights back too?

Comment by German joke
Entered on:

Hi Obama, the JEWS demand to have their own state (Israel) because they claim to be the victims of the so called "Holocaust". I am a real victim of the emotional and financial Holocaust the Jews have caused me, so I need my own state too. Come on president, hurry up to throw all the "Americans" out of the US and give me your state!

Comment by German Justice
Entered on:

The JEWs are blaming the Germans for killing 6 Million JEWs (from the 4 Million JEWS that lived in Europe at this time) in gas chambers. Whoever says that he do not believe in this story comes into the prison nowadays for many years in the Jewish-ruled colony of the US, so called Germany. Of course I believe in this story because I am sure that Hitler in World War II had nothing else to do than building gas chambers in each little town in Germany to kill the Jews. This is reasonable of course. Why don’t we create another story yet: The JEWS have killed 600 Million Germans (out of less than 100 Million living in Germany), and they have done it in the way that they have cut the stomach of pregnant German woman, have taken their unborn children out of it, then have taken the organs out of the still living mother to eat them and then they took out the eyes from the unborn child with a knife while the baby still was alive and have used this as a sacrifice to their so called “God”. Whoever does not believe in this story will get thrown into the prison for many years… Anyway I am sure the JEWS would really enjoy doing something like this… They enjoy killing animals in the most cruel way too, and in their eyes we are all nothing more then animals…

Comment by Jewish crimes
Entered on:

Who organized the slave-trade in the US with the Africans? Make your research how the JEWS made big profit out of this unbelievable cruelty. Also they hate Germans. Do you know why? I will tell you: Because we, the Germans, mean our ancestors, refused to be part of these crimes against humanity, we spoke out against enslaving the Africans or any other people. But the JEWS are planning to enslave everybody, so the Germans are there most hated enemy, because we want freedom for everybody. (I am sure the always lying JEWS will now make false propaganda blaming the Germans also for slavery, because they became specialized blaming the most moral and justice people on planet earth, the Germans, for all the crimes they have committed in the reality by themself. Now they are getting specialized in torturing and killing Arabs too after they did it with the Africans. They have caused World War I and II and they have caused the Holocaust of the Germans especially in World War II and now they are endless blaming the Germans for their own crimes. They also have totally ruined my live when I was friendly and helpful to them when I lived in the US. If you are friendly to them you should know they have always a knife holding on their back cutting your throat as soon as you are not aware and defenseless, because they treat you as an animal and they believe that you are just created to feed them. Their so called “GOD” is Satan, the evil force, and they love the darkness of the spirit and they enjoy torture and murder. They have taken away everything from me I have loved and they have destroyed everything I was devoted to. I will never forget what these always tricking and cheating bloodthirsty Jewish-“American” monsters have done against me without any reason, just to satisfy their sadism! If you want to know more about the crimes and the terrorism of the JEWS visit the great website

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